Octavio Zambrano speaks at a press conference after being named by Canada Soccer as the new head coach of the Men’s National Team in Toronto on Friday. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Zambrano to be the voice of Canadian men

TORONTO — The Canadian men’s program is taking a page from its women’s counterpart with the hiring of Octavio Zambrano.

Just as John Herdman is clearly in charge of the Canadian women, no matter their age, Zambrano will run the men’s side of the game, from under-15 to the senior side.

“First and foremost, we thought it was important even before we selected Octavio that we change the structure of the program so that there was uniformity and that there was one voice,” said Victor Montagliani, president of the Canadian Soccer Association. ”I think too often we have too many voices in Canadian soccer. And I think it’s important to have one voice.”

“(Zambrano) will be in charge of the program, right through and through … He’s the voice in the program,” Montagliani added.

Montagliani says the CSA will continue to have age-group coaches for the U-15, U-17 and U-20 teams but was clear about who’s the boss. “They’ll all come under his tutelage, under his philosophy.”

Zambrano, whose title is head coach of the Canadian men’s national team program, has already elected to take charge of a Canadian under-23 squad at a tournament in Qatar later this month.

There is no word yet on whether there will be a U-23 coach or whether Zambrano will continue to handle that squad.

On the women’s side, Herdman doubles as national team head coach and director of the women’s EXCEL program — the pipeline that funnels young talent up the ranks under the watchful eye of hand-picked coaches.

In Herdman’s words: “Consistent world-class on the performance on the highest stage is reliant on a development system that everybody in soccer believes in and contributes to.”

The CSA has tried to entrust one man with the keys to the kingdom before.

Holger Osieck, who was both head coach and technical director, led Canada to the Gold Cup but struggled getting others to join his off-field crusade.

Changes in governance across the country and at the CSA should help Zambrano’s cause.

Jason deVos, the former national team captain who is the CSA’s director of development, will be an important part of the puzzle. While his brief primarily covers the grassroots, it also involves a degree of high performance.

Zambrano shared some of his beliefs Friday, such as having his players do their fitness work with the ball.

And he sent a warning about how his players better wear their hearts on their sleeve.

“Passion, if you don’t have it, if you don’t have that fire inside that takes you to make that extra move to really put your body and yourself in harm’s way to accomplish something that is huge, that is important for this country, then you probably won’t be part of this program” said Zambrano. “Because those are the kind of guys we’ll be looking for.”

Toronto FC assistant coach Dan Calichman captained the Los Angeles Galaxy when Zambrano was coach in the late ’90s. Calichman, like TFC head coach Greg Vanney and assistant Robin Fraser, manned the backline of a 1998 team that scored 85 goals en route to a 24-8-0 regular-season record.

“He is an attacking coach. He loves going the creativity of the game. He loves going forward, certainly going forward with speed,” Calichman said.

“I think Octavio will certainly try to score goals and score lots of them. And do that in a nice style to watch as well,” he added.

Zambrano is also on board with Montagliani on the need for a domestic league to provide more playing options for Canadian talent.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer’s 2017-2021 council sworn in

Mayor and council ready to serve for the next four years

Red Deer’s Salvation Army vehicles vandalized twice in six weeks

Police investigating Sept. 10 and Oct. 21 incidents

Update: More details released of fatal police-involved shooting near Alix

ASIRT says man rammed police car, injured officer

Influenza vaccine clinics get started across Red Deer, Central Alberta

Clutching stuffed animals they got from the Calgary Zoo, Owen and Alton… Continue reading

Replay: Red Deer

Watch the highlights from this week

Montreal prepares for “Cohen Week” as first anniversary of singer’s death looms

Three sets of crumbling concrete steps have just been fixed heading into… Continue reading

Montreal prepares for “Cohen Week” as first anniversary of singer’s death looms

His soulful poetry, distinctive baritone and knack for writing runaway hit songs… Continue reading

Sylvan’s talent on display for fundraising show

Sylvan Lake Refugee Project is hosting Sylvan’s Got Talent Nov. 3

B.C. ice rink where 3 people died remains closed due to safety concerns

FERNIE, B.C. — Residents who were forced from their homes because of… Continue reading

Trudeau condemns appointment of Mugabe as WHO ambassador

EDMONTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the appointment of Zimbabwe President… Continue reading

Friday Oct. 21: Winning Lotto Numbers

Friday, October 20, 2017 LOTTO MAX Winning Numbers 1 4 12 27… Continue reading

New northbound Hwy 2 lanes at Gaetz Avenue to open this Sunday

Drivers heading north through Red Deer on Hwy 2 will have a… Continue reading

Canadian planet hunter seeking alien life

‘The shifting line of what is crazy’ says Toronto-born astrophysicist

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month