Jump to content

Hall of Fame Slams CSA..........

Winnipeg Fury

Recommended Posts

Hall of Fame inductees shake head at current state of Canadian soccer


Bruce Twamley and Les Wilson are looking forward to formally entering the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame next April. But both take little pleasure at the current Canadian soccer landscape and leadership.

"A little bit disappointed at what's going on now. I just find that it's so sad," said Wilson. "Whatever success we have is despite (the Canadian Soccer) Association," echoed Twamley.

"I think things have been mismanaged for a long time," he added.

The two - named to the 2008 Hall of Fame induction class Monday - are essentially out of the Canadian soccer system these days, although Twamley coaches locally a few nights a week in Vancouver and Wilson keeps up with his network as an occasional consultant.

Both wish Canadian coach Dale Mitchell well. But both argue the Canadian Soccer Association has failed and needs to be totally restructured.

The two have decades of experience to speak from.

Twamley went over to England at 17, playing for Ipswich Town from 1969 to 1975. Returning to North America, he played for five different NASL teams including the New York Cosmos.

A pro soccer player for 13 years, he won nine caps for Canada and scored on his international debut. As a coach, he led Canada to a surprise gold at the 1989 Francophone Games in Morocco. He was an assistant coach on the senior national team and coached the Olympic and under-20 sides, helping Canada to the round of 16 at the 1997 FIFA U-20 championship in Malaysia.

Wilson's soccer resume stretches some seven pages, covering his days as a player and manager. He played for Wolverhampton Wanderers, Norwich City and Bristol City in England and the Westminster Royals and Vancouver Whitecaps in Canada.

"He was a good player in England," Twamley said. "He was outstanding."

After his playing career, Wilson managed the team that reached the quarter-finals of the 1984 Olympic Games and the side that played in the 1986 World Cup finals. He was also manager of Holger Osieck's team that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000.

Wilson was virtually everpresent with Canadian teams from 1983 to 2000.

Now 61, Wilson lives in Port Moody, B.C., after a 42-year association with pro soccer. He's justifiably proud of that record but laments where soccer is today in Canada.

"The leadership leaves a great deal to be desired at all levels," he said.

Wilson uses the men's Canadian under-17 team as a yardstick. That squad has failed to qualify for the world championships in six attempts over the last 12 years.

"What does that tell you?" he asked.

"Personally I do not think the players are coming through and, worse than that, the coaches aren't coming through. There has to be an absolutely complete overhaul of the whole association and the programs."

Twamley, 55, also regrets the game has not grown or matured in Canada.

"I think we could have been where we should be, but we're not. And I think it's because it's been managed very poorly," he said.

He also points the finger at soccer's structure in Canada, saying elected officials are doing a dismal job running the show.

"First of all I'd restructure everything. The problem is the game is run by politicians and as long as it's run by politicians who make decisions, you have absolutely no chance."

Twamley's loss of faith is shown by the fact that while he still follows soccer, when he heads to the Internet it is to check on European soccer.

"I wish I wasn't doing that. I wish I was going on to find out about Canada."

The success of Toronto FC does not buoy Twamley much either, because he doesn't see the product as good enough in the long-term.

"We had a product here in the '70s with the NASL because players didn't earn huge money in Europe. So they usually came over," said Twamley who played with Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Ferenc Puskas. "We had all the players come over. Well now, it's all reversed. The economies are different."

David Beckham aside, the good players are playing elsewhere, he argues.

"If you do have a good player, he's not going to stay in North America. Even Toronto FC, if you take the top six Canadian players, they're not playing in Canada. They can't afford to."

Twamley says if soccer is to advance, the sport needs to listen to its top players who make the sacrifice regularly to play for their country or who have played for Canada.

He complains the sport relies on "spin doctors" whose role is to make the situation sound better than it is.

Blunt as a hammer, Twamley says the CSA has to do better.

"They fired (COO) Kevan Pipe? Was he the problem?"

The answer for Twamley is no. Just as past coaches Osieck, Frank Yallop and Bob Lenarduzzi weren't the problem.

"Ultimately who has been running this game for 20 years? Politicians and they're making the decisions," Twamley said.

Said Wilson: "There's one thing about Bruce that people don't like . . . he tells the truth."

Still, Twamley says he looks back at his time in soccer with great fondness.

"The thing I say to Les is the game's over now for me," said Twamley, "but I look at it and I had a fantastic group of players that I coached over the years and that means more to me than anything."

Players like Paul Stalteri, Richard Hastings, Jason Bent, Mark Watson and Paul Peschisolido. "That's just to name a few."

Like Twamley, emotions still runs deep for Wilson.

"I still desperately care about the sport," he said.

He cares enough that he went to the CSA more than a month ago, offering to put them in touch with former German coach Juergen Klinsmann and his company "because they could sort it out."

Wilson used to coach the company president and remains a good friend. "And he knows soccer like Juergen Klinsmann, better than anybody else."

He is still awaiting a definitive reply.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...