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Interview With Vancouver Sun Re: CSA

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When the Voyageurs letter of protest was sent to media outlets and contacts, Jeffery S asked for some of us to list numbers at which we could be reached by any journalist who wished to discuss the letter. I was contacted by Bob Mackin of the Vancouver Sun today and he asked me many questions. Here is the essence of what I said on behalf of the Voyageurs. I hope that it is appropriate.

Dale Mitchell - He is the new coach regardless of the way it was done, so we support Dale as a group and hope for the best. We'll back him and expect success. Perhaps, ideally, Dale, and Stephen Hart and others could have learned under a "master" coach and tHen assumed the senior job in due course as the local expert. He is the best Canadian for the job.

Hiring Procedure - A mess. A joke. Why publically state a preference for one coach, Simoes, before the deal is done? That makes Dale look like the number two choice - very unfair! Why take a year to choose a coach?

CSA decision making. Who holds the power? How are decisions made, and to the benefit of whom/what? What is the raison d'etre of the CSA, and what is its priority? Do the provinces hold power to the detriment of a national vision?

Coaching/Technical Director. Former technical director Richard Bates quit after just six months. Why? Was it because the CSA directors - the provincial association presidents - refused to cooperate with his suggestions for change? Who trains our senior coaches, and who develops coaching expertise at the lower levels? Rene Simoes stated that he wanted to develop coaching expertise in Canada from the ground roots up much like as has been done in Japan and South Korea. In Canada, our players lack that required sophistication when they reach their crucial teen developmetal years because, while most coaches in Canada have a great willingness, dedication and sense of sacrifice, most lack the higher levels of expertise that a recognized/qualified expert could provide, and that could give our young players a competitive edge.

National Team Programs - What is the priority here? The emphasis must be on mens' WCQ because that is where the fan interest primarily lies, and that is where corporate interest primarily lies, and that is where the big payday looms ($4 to 5 million dollars if you qualify, $0 if you don't!) Everything flows out from that accomplishment, so, again, what is the goal/priority of the CSA? Is it to have all programs run more or less equally, politically correctly (and at a mediocre level)? Why the almost complete lack of preparation and friendlies for the mens' team prior to important tournaments and qualifying?

Toronto FC - Great opportunity for younger Canadians to strive to make the MLS. What a fabulous development. USL clubs, Whitecaps and Impact, need to be there too for young Canadian kids to strive toward. Yes, there will be foreign players because clubs want to win, but these teams must become a legitimate goal for young Canadian players, and these players have be able to play, not sit.

Player Development - The Whitecaps have it right with their idea of a residential soccer academy combined with school to develop players for their club. Clubs should be the primary place for developing players with provincial and national associations providing expert training for coaches as well as appropriate competitive opportunities in partnership with clubs for elite players.

Bottom line: The CSA has to be more accountable to the fans, their ultimate bread and butter for long term success, in the sense that soccer needs a clear direction quite apart from pats on the back for lots of kids paying the sport. We need top coaching, clear priorties based upon World Cup qualication, adequate support for Dale Mitchell in terms of preparation matches and training, and a sense that the country has a real vision and plan in place to move forward. We support Dale Mitchell given that he is the new man at the helm, but we have high expectations of him and of the CSA to support him properly regarding the national team and WCQ. We've waited twenty years to get back to WC, and that is simply not acceptable.

Hopefully this represents the majority of us, with apologies if I missed anything. The call took me surprise. I do not know when, or what part of the interview, will be put into print in the Sun, but I would expect this Friday or Saturday after the Thursday announcement in Toronto. I suggested to Mackin that he get ahold of the minutes for the CSA AGM from last week and look to see what fireworks were on display. This topic needs some thorough investigating ( as opposed to Neil Davidson's recent disappointing pablum).


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excellent. We need to keep piling on the media pressure as the CSA is part funded by both government and corporate sector. Eventually, this will start hitting them in the pocket book, which will effect change. We need to take one step backwards in Canada before we can go forwards in my opinion.

I use to be on the fence about the CSA (and often defended them on this board). The recent fiasco's about the coach, the technical director, and the COO shows their utter amateurism.

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Guest Jeffery S.

Good work Ian, really looking forward to the article itself, though it surely won't be as complete and subtle as what you have told us here.

I was thinking we should put the key press links in reaction to the Protest Letter at the bottom of the article as on the front page, and release the sticky thread on the letter reaction. But since articles continue to come in, perhaps for now we should keep the sticky and let the issue run a bit more.

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I really liked the point about Professional Clubs (and Semi Pro Clubs where pro teams dont exist) establishin academy programs being the best environment for the development of elite players.

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Here is the article:


Canada gets their man

By BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

Mitchell takes over Canadian soccer team

Mitchell 'honoured' with announcement

Ex-Vancouver Whitecaps' skipper Dale Mitchell is expected to become Canada's new senior men's head coach today.

Mitchell is boss of Canada's junior men's team hosting the June 30-July 22 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. The 94th ranked senior team is entered in next month's CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States. Mitchell's long-term challenge will be to lead Canada's bid to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The Voyageurs, Canada's soccer supporters' club, criticized the hiring process because the Canadian Soccer Association's search committee apparently preferred Brazilian Rene Simoes, Jamaica's ex-coach.

"We think it was unfair to the fans, we think it was unfair to Dale," said Voyageur Ian Kennett of Surrey. "If they were going to hire a Canadian all along, why interview foreigners?"

CSA vice-president Vic Montagliani wouldn't confirm Mitchell's hiring, but denied Simoes was the top candidate.

"Our first choice is the person we're announcing [today]," Montagliani said. "He's the only person offered a formal tender for the job."

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