Canadian Soccer Association decides on new coach

The Canadian Soccer Association has found a new coach for the national men's team.

The Canadian Soccer Association has found a new coach for the national men's team.

Now the association's board has to approve the choice by president Colin Linford's four-man selection committee. They will get that opportunity late next week when the selection committee makes its recommendation to the board.

Linford says the choice came down to four candidates: two Canadians and two foreigners.

"We know who we want," said Linford, who wants the new man in place by late March or early April.

The CSA president said the decision was not difficult and that soccer fans would know his preferred candidate.

"I would hope so," he told reporters Thursday. "I would think you'd recognize all four anyway, if I told you who they were.

"It's not a stranger … I would hope it would give the message that we are trying to be serious."

It's expected the two Canadian candidates are under-20 coach Dale Mitchell and under-17 coach Stephen Hart, who is currently preparing the senior squad for a weekend friendly in Bermuda.

Brazilian Rene Simoes, a well-travelled coach who took Jamaica to the 1998 World Cup, is believed to be one of the foreign candidates — with one report saying the job is his.

Canada has been without a full-time coach since Frank Yallop quit last June to take over the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Linford's wish list for the new coach certainly points to someone like Simoes.

Linford says he's looking for someone with skill, motivation and a knowledge of CONCACAF, the federation that covers North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

"We compete in CONCACAF and yet we've never really taken advantage of opportunities to put people in place [from CONCACAF] to do that. Canada's always basically looked for European coaches or maybe homegrown coaches," Linford said.

"But sometimes the demographics of the country is changing. There's not so many European people here now as there were. There's certainly a lot from South America, which brings another sort of dimension to the game.

"So we're basically looking for someone who has some knowledge of CONCACAF, because that's where we have to compete."

Simoes, 55, also coached Trinidad and Tobago and was reportedly a candidate to take over Honduras last year.

He led the Brazilian women's team to a silver medal at the last Olympics. Most recently he guided Iran's under-23 men's team.

Linford declined to discuss contract length for the men's coach other than to say it would be related to qualification to the 2010 World Cup.

He also said he was happy with the coaching candidates, despite the obstacles in attracting someone to lead a team ranked 103rd in the world.

"Given the fact that Canada is rated not very high in the world and that most people understand coaches today are very mercenary, they go wherever the money is, we were fortunate in being given the opportunity to talk to some quality coaches," he said.