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Davidson: Yallop savours life back in MLS


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Former Canadian manager savours life back in Major League Soccer



680 words

4 August 2006


The Canadian Press


© 2006 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Former Canadian national team manager Frank Yallop is relishing the day-to-day coaching he gets to do with the Los Angeles Galaxy these days.

And Yallop has already added a touch of Canada to his MLS roster, signing Ante Jazic. Once his work permit is in order, the 30-year-old from Halifax will probably slot into fullback.

After manager Steve Sampson was shown the door, Yallop inherited a 2-8-1 Galaxy side that had been outscored 12-1 in losing six straight. Under Yallop, Los Angeles has gone 3-2-4 the last eight weeks and did not yield a goal during a 521-minute stretch that finally ended in a 1-1 tie with Columbus on July 22.

In Los Angeles, Yallop has done what he does best. Keep things simple. Establish a system. Reward in-form players with playing time. Boost confidence.

``And away we go,'' said Yallop. ``The guys have stuck to it well, they've enjoyed the time we've had.

``But we've still a long way to go. We're still six points behind a playoff place.''

The move to MLS marks a return to the league where Yallop first made his coaching mark, turning San Jose from the league doormat to champion.

He took over the Canadian program in December 2003, inheriting a team that had endured a rollercoaster ride under Holger Osieck. The German native helped the team to the Gold Cup title, but his hard-nosed way took its toll on Canada's small talent pool.

Playing for Canada had stopped being fun, especially for European-based players who sacrificed their club position every time they left to play internationally.

Yallop also took over the national team with World Cup qualifying just around the corner. Canada failed to make it out of the CONCACAF region and ultimately went 8-9-3 on Yallop's watch. But the record book doesn't show how he made playing for Canada fun again and showed North American-based players they had a place in the squad. Yallop clearly missed day-to-day coaching. Essentially Canada couldn't afford to fill the national team calendar, he says.

Yallop has no magic answers, other than a desire for soccer fans across Canada, especially corporate ones, to ask themselves how they can support the sport. Especially its bottom line.

Canada needs more international games at home, he says, so players can establish the home-field advantage so important in World Cup qualifying.

A gentleman, Yallop is not interested in pointing fingers or burning bridges. But he does hint that the Canadian Soccer Association needs to look at its priorities, noting that teams that made it to the World Cup were no doubt the No. 1 priority of their federation.

Asked if while watching the World Cup he thought Canada could have made it, Yallop paused.

``Yes. I do,'' he said.

``On the field, we have the talent and the players to go there,'' he added. ``It's not all about the players though.''

Canadian players know that. Houston Dynamo star Dwayne De Rosario, who has pulled on the Canadian jersey 37 times, makes no secret of his irritation at national team preparations.

De Rosario says while he understands why Yallop left, he was saddened by his departure.

``It's unfortunate, because with the talent that we have and the team that we have, for how many years, they (the CSA) don't give the coaches enough to work with. They don't put enough into the program and they don't support us enough that we could have good results.

``The CSA demands so much from us. They want us to get good results but yet they don't give us much to work with.''

Unlike Guatemala or Mexico, Canada's talent is spread around the globe and needs more training time together, he said.

``And the amount of international friendlies we do play is ridiculous,'' De Rosario added.

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quote:Originally posted by ken

My only worry is that he will become another Bunbury, burried with the arrival of a new manager. A voice critical of the status quo moved off the team under the guise of a youth movement.

Not while he's a MLS MVP candidate and scoring against Chelsea. All coaches, including new coaches, like to win games. At the moment, he is probably the best Canadian player based in North America - atleast from an offensive standpoint. He can't be dumped right now.

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