Monday, December 7, 2009

Stephen Hart named Canada’s new men’s head coach

As expected, Stephen Hart was named Canada's new men's head coach. It has been expected for a while and the CSA finally does something right. The players all seem to like him (Will Johnson reiterated that fact when he joined us a few weeks ago), the fans seem to like him and it would also appear the CSA seems to like him. So that's one thing the CSA has officially gotten right. Can they get something else right and move in a forward direction? Can David Hoilett be tempted to lay for Canada? Will Canada play for friendlies? Will Canada make the World Cup in 2014? I guess we will wait and see. In the meantime, it looks like the CSA might actually be making moves in a positive, forward direction.

Here's the official release:

Stephen Hart named Canada’s new men’s head coach

The Canadian Soccer Association announced today that Stephen Hart has been appointed head coach of Canada’s national team. Hart will be in charge of Canada’s qualification efforts as Canada works toward the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

"Stephen Hart is the man in charge with the task to lead Canada to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil," said Canadian Soccer Association president Dr. Dominic Maestracci. "He delivers an exciting brand of football that has proven to be successful against our CONCACAF opponents. He will have full support of our country as he builds a winning team that will qualify us for Brazil in four years time."

“I am honoured to be chosen for this prestigious and very important position,” said national head coach Stephen Hart. “I am fully aware of the expectation and look forward to the challenge of building a team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers and beyond.”

Hart most recently served as Canada’s interim head coach for the 2009 season. He helped Canada compile a record of four wins, one draw and three losses, including a quarter-final finish at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. In the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Hart led Canada to a first-place finish in its group. In the quarter-final stage, Canada lost 0:1 to Honduras who scored on a penalty kick.

In 18 career games over two stints as Canada’s head coach (2006-07 and 2009), Hart has posted nine wins, two draws and seven losses. His 50% ratio of wins to games is the highest in Association history, ranking ahead of Barrie Clarke and Tony Taylor who each won six of 14 games for a 43% ratio. In those 18 games, Hart's teams have averaged 1.33 goals scored per game and 0.94 goals allowed per game – both the second-best totals behind Clarke’s teams from the early 1980s (1.57 goals scored and 0.93 goals allowed per game).

Hart has been the Canadian Soccer Association’s Technical Director since March 2008. In this role, he oversaw the Association’s long-term player development program (Wellness to World Cup presented by BMO) and was in charge of directing and monitoring the national development teams, the coaching education program, the National Training Centres, and the sports medicine program. This vacancy will be filled in the coming months.

CONCACAF’s next round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers™ is scheduled to begin in 2012, which will take place after the next CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2011. To date, Canada’s men’s national team has won two CONCACAF championships – the 1985 CONCACAF Men’s Championship (which qualified Canada for the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™) and the 2000 CONCACAF Gold Cup (which qualified Canada for the FIFA Confederations Cup Korea/Japan 2001).

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