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Ian Bridge, right, has served as an assistant coach on both the women's national and under-20 teams. ((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press))

The Canadian Soccer Association announced Thursday the appointment of Ian Bridge as the new head coach of Canada's under-20 women's team.

Birdge takes over from Bob Birarda, who has parted ways with the CSA. In a release, the CSA said the departure was a mutual decision that both sides agreed was in the best interest of both parties.

Bridge, 49, played 34 times for the national men's team from 1981-91, including three games at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, the only time that Canada has ever qualified for the competition.

Bridge was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003.

Since retiring as a player, the former defender and Victoria native has served as an assistant coach on both the women's national and under-20 teams. He was the head coach of the under-20 team that won a silver medal at the 2002 FIFA U-20 World Cup staged in Canada.

Bridge takes over the team as it prepares to play in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile 2008 from Nov. 19 to Dec. 7.

Canada will play Japan (Nov. 20), Congo (Nov. 23) and Germany (Nov. 27) in its round-robin matches.

The top two teams in each of the first-round groups advance to the quarter-finals.

Canada enters the tournament with a great deal of confidence, having won the CONCACAF women's U-20 championship in June and the Four Nations tournament in Chile last month.