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Holger - Canada Lacks Know-How


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Canada lacks know-how: Osieck

By NEIL DAVIDSON -- Canadian Press

BERLIN - Former coach Holger Osieck doesn't follow Canadian soccer much anymore, but he still believes Canadian players have much to learn before they join the big boys at the World Cup.

Osieck, now head of FIFA's technical department, left the Canadian job in September 2003 after a poor Gold Cup campaign that saw Canada lose 2-0 to Cuba and fail to survive the first round.

The German native officially resigned, but it's believed his departure followed a meeting with senior Canadian Soccer Association officials where players complained about Osieck's hard-nosed, my-way-or-the-highway approach to coaching.

"I don't feel bitter about it," Osieck told The Canadian Press in an interview Thursday. "I've got my style. I have my philosophy and I always had my clear vision of what to do. And I can assure you I know what's required to make a team.

"And of course, if you want to step up even as a player, in a way you have to sacrifice. And if you want to just take the easy way, you never get anywhere. I tried to convey the message but some obviously didn't like it. So what can you do?"

Osieck took over the Canadian team in September 1998, inheriting a side ranked 88th in the world. He helped lift the team to a high of No. 55 in 2000 when Canada won the Gold Cup and earned a berth in the Confederations Cup.

Osieck, an assistant coach to Franz Beckenbauer when Germany won the World Cup in 1990, had a 20-17-9 record with Canada. The team was ranked 79th when he left.

Canada is currently ranked 83rd.

Asked if he thinks Canada will make it to the World Cup in the near future, Osieck was blunt.

"First of all people have to know what it takes to get there. And then they can express their wish to be there, to be part of it.

"I tried to convey the message what is required," he added. "It's a lot of sacrifice, it's a lot of personal effort to get there. But I think what is more important is the know-how. You've got to know what it takes."

Osieck also doesn't believe that an MLS franchise in Toronto will be a cure-all to Canadian soccer's ills.

"Well it remains to be seen," he said. "One team doesn't make a football culture or a country. Knowing the system, everything is based on success. And if that team doesn't do well, people won't show up. And you cannot consider this team a development team for Canadian talent. That's definitely an illusion. If people go that road, I think they go in the wrong direction."

That's because Osieck believes the Canadian MLS team will need some big names. He feels Canadian content will not top the bill.

"It's good but it's only going to be a handful (of Canadians). You need people from elsewhere. You need probably names. People from the Italian community, Portuguese community, they may show up if there's a Portuguese or an Italian player. But if you don't find any in this team, let's say the general interest will be pretty low."

Osieck spoke highly of former CSA president Jim Fleming, who hired him. "We pushed a lot of things forward. He was a great guy for Canadian football."

As for the poor showing in the 2003 Gold Cup, Osieck blamed a lot on the tournament's mid-July timing. Players were worried about losing their jobs with their overseas clubs, who were in pre-season training.

"The entire constellation of this event was not positive," he said. "Otherwise the players, I always had a good rapport with them. We got along."

He says he has fond memories of Canada, although travelling in his current job prevents him from following the soccer scene there.

"I don't look back with any negatives. I experienced such a great time in Canada. I still have a lot of contacts with people .... It was a very, very essential part of my life."

His son Bjorn remains in Canada where he is executive director of B.C. Soccer.

"The only person I follow in Canada is my son," said Osieck.

The Canadian Soccer Association is currently looking for a new coach after Frank Yallop resigned to take over the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS.

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quote:Originally posted by Winnipeg Fury

That's because Osieck believes the Canadian MLS team will need some big names. He feels Canadian content will not top the bill.

"It's good but it's only going to be a handful (of Canadians). You need people from elsewhere. You need probably names. People from the Italian community, Portuguese community, they may show up if there's a Portuguese or an Italian player. But if you don't find any in this team, let's say the general interest will be pretty low."

G-Man is Holger? Didn't see that coming. How does Ossieck know so much about the ECHL anyway??

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Guest speedmonk42

I think fans of the game of any descent, Italian, Portugese ect... deserve a bit more credit.

If the team is good, with good players, they don't really need to be of any particular race/culture.

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"...Osieck also doesn't believe that an MLS franchise in Toronto will be a cure-all to Canadian soccer's ills..."

Could one Canadian franchise really produce our players for the National team and for the next World Cup??? This question is really interesting for I tend to agree with Osiek. Unless, Canada is prepared to launch ASAP 4 more Canadian franchises into the fold such as: Montreal, Vancouver, and probably Edmonton. From there, we could develop a strong pool of players capable of competing in the international stage.

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"...Osieck also doesn't believe that an MLS franchise in Toronto will be a cure-all to Canadian soccer's ills..."

Could one Canadian franchise really produce our players for the National team and for the next World Cup??? This question is really interesting for I tend to agree with Osiek. Unless, Canada is prepared to launch ASAP 4 more Canadian franchises into the fold such as: Montreal, Vancouver, and probably Edmonton. From there, we could develop a strong pool of players capable of competing in the international stage.

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quote:Originally posted by Luis_Rancagua

"...Osieck also doesn't believe that an MLS franchise in Toronto will be a cure-all to Canadian soccer's ills..."

Could one Canadian franchise really produce our players for the National team and for the next World Cup??? This question is really interesting for I tend to agree with Osiek. Unless, Canada is prepared to launch ASAP 4 more Canadian franchises into the fold such as: Montreal, Vancouver, and probably Edmonton. From there, we could develop a strong pool of players capable of competing in the international stage.

I'm not sure who it is that keeps purporting the MLS team to be the "cure-all for Canadian soccer". This seems to come up but who's the one actually saying this? Of course it isn't a cure-all. It's crazy to believe that.

It is, however, a step in the right direction IMO. That is what's important. However, there are still many more steps that need to be taken to cure Canada's problems. I think most everyone can see that.

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quote:Originally posted by Luis_Rancagua

"...Osieck also doesn't believe that an MLS franchise in Toronto will be a cure-all to Canadian soccer's ills..."

Could one Canadian franchise really produce our players for the National team and for the next World Cup??? This question is really interesting for I tend to agree with Osiek. Unless, Canada is prepared to launch ASAP 4 more Canadian franchises into the fold such as: Montreal, Vancouver, and probably Edmonton. From there, we could develop a strong pool of players capable of competing in the international stage.

I'm not sure who it is that keeps purporting the MLS team to be the "cure-all for Canadian soccer". This seems to come up but who's the one actually saying this? Of course it isn't a cure-all. It's crazy to believe that.

It is, however, a step in the right direction IMO. That is what's important. However, there are still many more steps that need to be taken to cure Canada's problems. I think most everyone can see that.

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I agree 100% that it is just plain silly to keep pretending that somebody (usually suggested or implied to be the CSA) thinks that an MLS team in Toronto is the panacea for Canadian soccer. Of course it isn't but it sure is a step in the right direction which I think is all the CSA has been trying to say all along.

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Guest speedmonk42
quote:Originally posted by Richard

I agree 100% that it is just plain silly to keep pretending that somebody (usually suggested or implied to be the CSA) thinks that an MLS team in Toronto is the panacea for Canadian soccer. Of course it isn't but it sure is a step in the right direction which I think is all the CSA has been trying to say all along.

I have heard a lot more people complaining about people saying that, than people actually saying that.

There is no doubt that MLS will be a good thing. More options for our players is good on this team and the opportunities it may open up on other MLS teams. Hell if it inspires 1000 kids in the GTA to work towards something, that may be the biggest reward.

It is of course not a final solution by any means.

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Guest speedmonk42
quote:Originally posted by nolando

He is talking a lot of wisdom here, guys. And it's not like he is bitter and trying to get his back. More should listen really, becuase not many soccer minds really do understand our situation in Canada regarding WCQ...

I both agree and disagree here.

We need solutions that fit our situation, not someone yelling at us to be more like Europe.

I still have not heard anything from Holger that fits a uniquely canadian problem. If I missed something I would like to know.

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quote:Originally posted by youllneverwalkalone

G-Man is Holger? Didn't see that coming. How does Ossieck know so much about the ECHL anyway??

It's well known in Europe that the MLS is to soccer as what the ECHL is to hockey. Most European hockey fans can only dream of having a hockey league as good as the ECHL, places like England, France, Holland, Spain, Norway dream in the same way we dream of having a single MLS soccer team. They're nutters, but they look great in Cardiff Red Devil scarves.

And just as England, having an actual ECHL team, would bring it that much closer to making the A pool at the World Hockey championships some CSA folks (And I mean Kevin Pipe) think that having a single team with 7 starters who are Canadian, will someone how get into the final 32.

Sometimes I lack class, but Holger never does.

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The only thing I disagree with is what he says about Toronto FC needing to have Italian or Portuguese players. You can't import foreign players just to appeal to one or two ethnic communities. That's ridiculous. And Toronto has too many ethnic communities anyway. You'd end up with no Canadians at all if you tried to fill the team that way.

If you just pick the best available Canadian players you'll inevitably end up with plenty of Italian-Canadian, Portuguese-Canadian, Caribbean-Canadian or what-have-you players. Is a Toronto-Italian really more likely to want to watch a decrepit player from Italy than an equally-talented kid from his own neighbourhood?

Otherwise, I agree with Osieck on every point. Particularly his comments about the Gold Cup and about some of the players' unwillingness to make the sacrifice and commitment it takes to get to the World Cup.

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quote:Originally posted by Chet

Is a Toronto-Italian really more likely to want to watch a decrepit player from Italy than an equally-talented kid from his own neighbourhood?

Do you *really* want to be asking that question?

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