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CDN Soccer Lacking Direction: Globe and Mail

Guest Jeffery S.

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Guest Jeffery S.

This was sent me by someone, maybe someone else has the link to it online.

Canadian soccer still lacking direction


Globe and Mail Update

Canada's national soccer program remains in a state of turmoil and without a permanent senior men's coach, technical director or chief operating officer, yet Canadian soccer officials have fallen silent ahead of mid-week meetings in Toronto.

The Canadian Soccer Association's board of directors will meet at a Toronto hotel Tuesday and begin preparations for Wednesday's meeting when over 70 delegates representing provincial associations will take part in the CSA's annual general meeting.

"Definitely this is frustrating for the players, coaches and fans," said Canadian senior men's team midfielder Julian de Guzman of Toronto, who plays for Spanish La Liga side Deportivo La Coruna.

"[interim senior men's coach] Stephen Hart has done well every given moment he has had to manage the team but the CSA needs to put him or another candidate in the driver's seat so he has the freedom to help the team. But instead, with the lack of direction, we are going to have to just do our best to bring results on the pitch and not let the hype distract us."

Hart, who also coaches Canada's U17 men's squad, was recently informed he would guide Canada's 103-ranked men's senior team for its opening match in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Miami on June 6 against Costa Rica.

CSA president Colin Linford and other members of the seven-member executive have turned down requests for interviews concerning the current job vacancies and many other problems concerning our governing body.

The search continues for a permanent replacement for Frank Yallop, who resigned last June and moved on to Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy. Technical director Richard Bate departed for the English Premier League's Watford to take up a similar position.

The governing body has also been searching for someone to fill the shoes of its former chief operating officer Kevan Pipe, who was dismissed from his post in November in a surprise decision.

When contacted by the Globe and Mail over the weekend, at least two members of the board of directors hinted that the job vacancies were high on the agenda for Tuesday's board of directors meeting but refused to comment on details or the identity of possible candidates to fill the positions.

Linford had Brazilian tactician Rene Simoes pegged as his "number one choice" to fill nearly year-long vacancies as both coach and technical director, as well as a new candidate for chief operating officer, but saw his plans scuttled at a April 21 emergency meeting of the CSA's board of directors and his future with the CSA is now being called into question by some soccer insiders.

Simoes had indicated in an interview on April 25 that Canada was his destination of choice and he was disappointed that the deal fell through.

Soccer insiders have hinted that opposition to Linford and other recently elected members of the CSA's seven-member executive are the reason behind the current state of indecision and job vacancies at the CSA.

"Our governing body is a completely dysfunctional family right now, the situation is a complete mess," said one high ranking senior soccer official who refused to be identified. "If people think it was bad in the past they should have a look now. Colin Linford tried to ram home the Simoes hiring but the board was always against him on this and had indicated so."

There is no clear indication of whether the vacancies will be filled by the end of this week's meetings, which could prove an embarrassment for the CSA as it prepares to welcome FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and other confederation officials for CONCACAF's annual congress meeting in Toronto, May 12 and 13.

© Copyright 2007 CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc.

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There may be a silver lining to this whole mess after all. With TFC, the BMO field story, and the U-20 WC bringing Canadian soccer into the national spotlight now more than ever, the media and general public are now starting to get the real story on the other, darker side of Canadian soccer.

With interest growing among the public and the media, the CSA will finally have to be subjected to transperancy. Hofully we will start to see them worrying about pubilc pressure and accountability!

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I think it is great that these journalists are weighing in and bringing the CSA's lack of professionalism into the mainstream media.

Hopefully, the CSA will finally be held accountable for the shambolic nature in which they have been operatiing.

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