Home Canadian Soccer Why the CSA should look to Mexico for the next national-team coach

Why the CSA should look to Mexico for the next national-team coach

Javier Aguirre… Should the CSA give him a call?
Today was a day of goodbyes for the Canadian national team.

A day after he announced his resignation, former coach Stephen Hart spoke with the media in a Friday conference call, basically saying that there was no way back after Tuesday’s 8-1 loss to Honduras, which ended the World Cup campaign with a national-team implosion.

And, midfielder Patrice Bernier announced that he is retiring from international soccer. The Montreal Impact midfielder will spend the rest of his thirtysomething years focused on his club career.

Bernier, who wasn’t used in Tuesday’s 8-1 loss to Honduras — the game which ended Canada’s World Cup qualifying hopes — is likely to be the first of many.

Truth is, this was, in soccer terms, a very experienced team. Some might even use the term, “old.” And many tough choices lay ahead.

In his mid-30s, this was clearly Dwayne De Rosario’s last chance to go to a World Cup with Canada.

Josh Simpson is recovering from a badly broken leg. We still have yet to see the kind of player he will be when he comes back. We all hope for the best, but we have to be realistic and expect the worst. And he’s closing in on 30.

Atiba Hutchinson turns 30 next year. So does Iain Hume. Kevin McKenna is 32. Ante Jazic is 36. Julian de Guzman is 31. Olivier Occean is 31. Lars Hirschfeld is 34.

We can expect to hear of more and more international retirements in the coming weeks and months.

And while there is talk of revamping our development system, it would be, minimum, qualifying for Qatar 2022 before any players brought through a new, improved Canadian system would come former. Remember, that new and improved system doesn’t even exist yet.

So, what we have for the next Gold Cup and Brazil 2018 is a team in transition. The new coach will have to find the more promising of our young players, and possibly some of the twentysomethings that Hart and his staff passed over during the cycle. If there is one criticism of Hart, it would be for his unbroken loyalty to his core group of players. And, under his watch, the team continued to age and very little fresh blood was brought in. Sure, there were some sniffs for promising youngsters like Samuel Piette and Ashtone Morgan, but “sniffs” is the key word.

Outsiders such as midfielder Joseph Di Chiara, keeper Tomer Chencinski and midfielder Shaun Saiko could not get into in the program. And that was part of the problem, tunnel vision with the constant excuse that the core guys were always a step ahead. But the hands of time kept moving, and now we have a team that needs not only a new coach, but wholesale changes to the squad.

Today, Canadian favourite Paul Peschisolido told Sportsnet that he would be interested in the job (CLICK HERE). There is talk about U-23 coach Tony Fonseca (though technical director would be a better fit) and U-20 coach Nick Dasovic, who teamed with Peschisolido for years when the Canadian team made Commonwealth Stadium “St. Paul’s Cathedral” (the original Voyageurs will remember the nickname).

But, as nostalgia will warm the heart towards these candidates, pragmatism says that this is a unique time. Because so many of Canada’s players will be retiring, this offers a coach a clean slate. And there is no country — not even the much ballyhooed Dutch — who is doing more with its program right now than the Mexicans. Winners of the U-17 World Cup, third place at the U-20 World Cup, Olympic champion, an aggressive show of support for development through its national youth league. The Mexicans have thought outside the box, and once again they are far and away the class of the district. There is no debate between U.S. and Mexico at the moment. It’s not a contest right now. If Mexico was in UEFA or South America, the soccer world would rave about them as the new priests of soccer know-how and tactics — but being in CONCACAF, the appreciation for what the country has done hasn’t come as quickly as it should.

On Thursday, Canadian Soccer Association President Victor Montagliani said that the new coach would need to have experience and a knowledge of the Central American football cauldron. He also stressed that the new coach didn’t need to be a Canadian citizen

So,why not look to Mexico? There are name coaches out of work. Think of Javier Aguirre, who has coached Mexico at the World Cup, played in the NASL, and also brought Atletico Madrid back to the Champions League. Aguirre is known to be difficult, ignore advice and be a bit of a control freak.

Sounds like exactly what Canada needs. Not a gladhanding politician, but a bit of a renegade who wants to put his stamp on the program.

But Aguirre would be expensive. But, there are other options — many who would come with more affordable pricetags. But it’s worth the search, as there’s no denying that Mexico is exploding with people who are thinking outside of the box and have spurred a soccer renaissance.

Mexico is the devil we know. Maybe it’s time to do a deal with that devil, and bring some of those guts, and that know-how, to the politically correct Canadian soccer landscape. Let’s find someone who hasn’t worked with the program, so he hasn’t made any favourites out of the U-23 and U-20 squads. In the past, we have promoted coaches within the system, and then they have stuck to the system. It hasn’t worked.

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  1. Dave

    October 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Just hiring a Mexican isn’t going to change the way we do things or our culture which is not setup to ever be a football power. For Pete’s sake, we don’t even have our own D1 league like they do in Mexico! So what works in Mexico, will not work here.

    And big name coach hirings cannot change the culture. The U.S. hired Klinsmann and all he has been able to do is look for Germans with American daddies. He hasn’t done crap for U.S. player development of actual Americans in the U.S.. Because that is up to MLS. Pros develop pros.

    Oh, and I agree 100% with footy. Players like Shaun Saiko play at way too low a level to be considered for the National Team. That would be a joke. He would get eaten a alive given what he goes up against every week. The NASL is a minor league. The blame goes to Saiko. If he wants to be taken seriously as a player, then get on a real club in MLS or Europe. And a good Euro club. Not somewhere in Hungary please.

  2. footy

    October 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    I’m not against hiring some Mexican coach for some of the reasons you’ve mentioned, but to say that some other coach would make different selections is absurd. There aren’t any other players! Saiko in de National Team? Let’s look at that realistically, a fairly good player from the last team of some minor league (comparable with what, maybe 5th division soccer in Germany?) playing against Mexican internationals? Seriously? Look at Arguez, easily one of the better player of FCE, doesn’t get a single game for Montreal in the MLS. That shows you the big difference in level of the leagues.

    The only chance a new coach will have, is that the young talents develop enough to become the core of a new generation. The CSA should encourage the establishments of professional soccer clubs, so that more clubs scout the right boys and start developing in the professional way, as they do in say, Mexico.

  3. Soccerpro

    October 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Could they afford Javier Aguirre?
    Everything the CSA has told us about their financial woes in the past points to – no, not even close.

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