Winnipeg Fury Posted February 15, 2006 Share Posted February 15, 2006 Canadian soccer technical director says challenges abound in the game here (CP) - Richard Bate says he lives 37,000 feet above Canada these days, criss-crossing the country as he learns about Canadian soccer. Four months into his job as technical director of the Canadian Soccer Association, the English native now knows what he sees when he looks down. "It's a massive challenge because there's so much coming at you," Bate said in an interview Tuesday from Ottawa. "There's a lot to do," he added. "There's a lot of very enthusiastic, very willing people working in the game. Many wishing it was different. Not having the staff or the authority to change things. That's a first impression. "It seems to be very fragmented. ... Nothing particularly universally co-ordinated." That will be one of Bate's challenges. He is finding out others as he travels. Bate has already had a chance to see some of Canada's talent in action. He saw the men's under-20 team at a camp in Manchester in October, watched the senior men's side beat Luxembourg 1-0 in November and saw the women's under-20 team in January at a CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Mexico. Bate, who was in Ottawa on Tuesday for a coaching workshop, is a hands-on teacher and comes ready equipped with a soccer philosophy: it's clear he wants Canadian teams to play a fluent style based on "possession philosophy." They need to be adaptable, creative and able to win games in different ways, To illustrate the point, he uses a quote from star striker Ruud van Nistelrooy sounding off during a poor Manchester United patch. "We have trouble keeping the ball, have no fluency in our passing and no flow of attacks," van Nistelrooy said. "There are no crosses coming in and we don't win the second balls. As a result we can't maintain any pressure." Reverse that statement and you have successful soccer Bate-style. He envisions the CSA with a national coaching style, as successful clubs around the globe do. Manager Arsene Wenger, for example, preaches the same philosophy at every level at England's Arsenal, so players know their role as they move up the ranks. "If you look at the successful teams in the world, they all seem to have a very strong identity and a very firm playing philosophy to which they adhere," Bate said. "If you look at Brazil, they've got their way. Holland have got their way, Germany have got their way. And I think it would be advantageous if Canada took that on board." And Bate says his goals are realistic, especially in developing young talent. "We're not talking about playing Brazilian football or talking about playing like Argentina, we're just talking about playing sensitive, efficient football that would help us to play better. Goals include providing more challenging games for younger players. "You can go anywhere in Europe and you'll find that the best players are working in the best clubs and they've got a very, very intense playing program. Now over here that is a problem." A limited pro setup is at the root of that problem but Bate says Canada's national training centres can fill the void by providing a more challenging game program. Lack of top-quality matches for young talent is just one of the issues facing the sport in Canada. Climate, facilities - "there's all sort of problems," Bate says. Fly into Amsterdam, he notes, "and you can see nothing but soccer pitches. "You fly in over Toronto airport and you can't find one." More coaches and better coaches are needed throughout the system. Some hard decisions, Bate seems to suggest, will have to be made by the CSA's top echelon. "How we do it is really down to the politicians. I can make my recommendation but they eventually have to decide how to choose to organize the game." Bate, 59, came to Canada after serving as a staff coach with England's Football Association. While with the FA, he coached several England youth teams. He has also served as technical director of the Football Association of Malaysia. The job of technical director in Canada had been vacant since World Cup head coach Holger Osieck, who held both titles, left in September 2003. Frank Yallop took over as head coach in December 2003. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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