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CSA awaits word on new coach


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As heard on Sports 590

CSA awaits word on new coach

March 22, 2007



Friendly scheduled in Toronto

Gerry Dobson blog:

CSA needs to get 'er done

Sportsnet.ca News

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TORONTO (CP) -- The Canadian Soccer Association has found a new coach for the national men's team.

Now the association's board has to rubber-stamp the choice. They will get that opportunity late next week when a selection committee makes its coaching recommendation to the board.

Association president Colin Linford says the choice came down to four candidates: two Canadians and two foreigners.

"We know who we want," Linford said.

Linford says his major concern is that the new coach has expertise in CONCACAF, the federation that covers North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

He wants the new coach in place by the end of the month.

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Guest Can. in UK

Don't think this full article & interview has been posted yet:


TORONTO (CP) - The Canadian Soccer Association has found a new coach for the national men's team.

Now the association's board has to approve the choice by president Colin Linford's four-man selection committee. They will get that opportunity late next week when the selection committee makes its recommendation to the board.

Linford says the choice came down to four candidates: two Canadians and two foreigners.

"We know who we want," said Linford, who wants the new man in place by late March or early April.

The CSA president said the decision was not difficult and that soccer fans would know his preferred candidate.

"I would hope so," he told reporters Thursday. "I would think you'd recognize all four anyway if I told you who they were.

"It's not a stranger ... I would hope it would give the message that we are trying to be serious."

It's expected the two Canadian candidates are under-20 coach Dale Mitchell and under-17 coach Stephen Hart, who is currently preparing the senior squad for a weekend friendly in Bermuda.

Brazilian Rene Simoes, a well-travelled coach who took Jamaica to the 1998 World Cup, is believed to be one of the foreign candidates - with one report saying the job is his.

Canada has been without a full-time coach since Frank Yallop quit last June to take over the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Linford's wish list for the new coach certainly points to someone like Simoes.

Linford says he's looking for someone with skill, motivation and a knowledge of CONCACAF, the federation that covers North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

"We compete in CONCACAF and yet we've never really taken advantage of opportunities to put people in place (from CONCACAF) to do that. Canada's always basically looked for European coaches or maybe homegrown coaches," Linford said.

"But sometimes the demographics of the country is changing. There's not so many European people here now as there were. There's certainly a lot from South America which brings another sort of dimension to the game.

"So we're basically looking for someone who has some knowledge of CONCACAF, because that's where we have to compete."

Simoes, 55, also coached Trinidad and Tobago and was reportedly a candidate to take over Honduras last year.

He led the Brazilian women's team to a silver medal at the last Olympics. Most recently he guided Iran's under-23 men's team.

Canadian soccer needs a saviour and Simoes might fit the bill, given that the devout Christian had Jesus Saves printed on the back of his official Jamaican shirt.

He is also a charismatic coach who told his Reggae Boyz to dance with the ball and romance it like they would their girlfriend.

National team coaches don't come cheap, with Linford citing million-dollar salaries and pointing to U.S. Soccer being willing to pay $4 to $5 million for a marquee manager.

"So that's the market we're fighting against now," he said. "We have to try and get the best we can get for the money that we can afford, which is not always easy."

Simoes reportedly made US$220,000 a year when he led Jamaica to the '98 World Cup, a salary paid by a team sponsor.

At the top end of the scale, former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson made 4.5 million pounds (C$10.2 million) a year.

Compare that to the CSA's fiscal 2007 budget of some $12.5 million, of which $7 million goes to finance all of Canada's national teams.

Linford declined to discuss contract length for the men's coach other than it would be related to qualification to the 2010 World Cup.

He also said he was happy with the coaching candidates, despite the obstacles in attracting someone to lead a team ranked 103rd in the world.

"Given the fact that Canada is rated not very high in the world and that most people understand coaches today are very mercenary, they go wherever the money is, we were fortunate in being given the opportunity to talk to some quality coaches," he said.

Linford is also looking for a CEO and technical director.

A pair of CEO candidates will be re-interviewed on March 30, with a decision expected that weekend, he said. The original list of 140 applicants was whittled down to a short list of six, who were all interviewed, with two summoned for a second look.

Linford did not have a timetable for the technical director.

The CSA boss also repeated his belief that the men's team should be Canadian soccer's priority, arguing the senior side generates revenue and sponsors.

Notes: Linford dismissed Canada's recent tumble in the world rankings. "It's not something we're too worried about ... I just don't think we're as bad as the ratings show, because we haven't played the games (necessary to climb the rankings)," he said ... The Canadian under-20 team will open BMO Field with a game May 11 against the defending under-20 world champions from Argentina. ... The under-20 Canadians play the Scottish under-20 team in Burnaby, B.C., on Saturday and in Victoria on March 27. Future friendlies are slated for Ottawa, Edmonton and Sherbrooke, Que., fulfilling a CSA promise that the team will play exhibition games in advance of this summer's tournament at all six Canadian venues .... The CSA also unveiled two new sponsors - Hyundai and Yahoo Canada - and a third black jersey for the under-20 team.

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I was watching the NCAA tourney on the Score and noticed a blurb on the ticker running across the bottom of the screen that says that the CSA Board of Directors might not make the final decision on the new MNT coach until April.

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