CSA fires head coach

On the surface, Dale Mitchell leaves the Canadian men’s soccer team where he found it — ranked 94th in the world.

TORONTO — On the surface, Dale Mitchell leaves the Canadian men’s soccer team where he found it — ranked 94th in the world.

Only the neighbours have changed. In May 2007, the Canadians were sandwiched between Libya and Ethiopia. Today, it is Mozambique and the Congo Democratic Republic.

Mitchell’s firing Friday leaves the men’s team rudderless — once again. And the Canadian Soccer Association presumably with less money to spend on the pitch, with Mitchell’s contract running through 2010.

There was no immediate word on Mitchell’s replacement. CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli said an interim coach could be appointed, perhaps leaving the door open for assistant coach Stephen Hart to lead the team at this summer’s Gold Cup — as he did two years ago when Mitchell was tied up with the under-20 team at the world championships.

“We felt in the best interests of the program it was time to move forward, in maybe a different direction,” Montopoli told The Canadian Press.

“And going into 2009, this seemed to be the most appropriate timing.”

Some might have wondered if the timing would have been better if the move was made in November, when the Canadian men ended a dismal 0-4-2 round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying that saw them bow out prior to the final round in the confederation that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. The men’s team has not played since.

Asked why Mitchell had not been fired immediately after the failed World Cup campaign, Montopoli said the association wanted to review “the whole scenario.”

Mitchell’s departure is not unexpected. There had been rumblings of change for several weeks, with Montopoli offering half-hearted denials or deflections. Mitchell was left hanging in the wind.

Mitchell, 50, leaves with a record of 3-7-5 at the national helm and a trail of disgruntled players in his wake since his appointment May 17, 2007. Jim Brennan, Dwayne De Rosario, Greg Sutton and Julian de Guzman have all complained about various aspects of the Canadian setup, with some pointing the finger at coaching.

But Canadian captain Paul Stalteri refused to condemn his coach.

“At the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign, as players we can only speak on behalf of what we did, and what we did wasn’t good enough in the six games, particularly the games at home when we lost a total of seven points from three games . . . I think most of us will come to the conclusion that we weren’t good enough ourselves and the only ones to blame are the players,” he added bluntly.

A proud man with a distinguished record as a player, Mitchell came into the job with an asterisk thanks to the way his hiring was handled.

Then association president Colin Linford wanted to make a splash with a big name import as coach. But the board of directors nixed big-ticket Brazilian Rene Simoes. The other final candidates from the CSA’s selection committee were Mitchell, Hart (then under-17 coach) and Argentine Ozzie Ardiles, who was dropped from the list before the association board made its choice. Mitchell was chosen over Hart, but had to give the keys to the team to Hart for the Gold Cup that summer because he was tied up with the FIFA U-20 World Championships.

Hart led the senior side to the semifinals, earning praise from the players, while a toothless under-20 team, failing to score in three losses, underperformed for Mitchell at home.

Just Posted

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Jazz at the Lake begins

The 16 annual event began Friday and runs until Sunday in Sylvan Lake

Photos: Lunchtime tunes on Alexander Way

Final concert of the summer

Clearwater regional firefighters in B.C.

Crew operating west of Prince George

PHOTOS: Samson Cree Nation Pow Wow

The Samson Cree Nation hosted its annual Pow Wow, celebrating youth last weekend

WATCH: Feasting at Red Deer Ribfest this weekend

Ribfest runs until Sunday at Rotary Recreation Park

Street Tales: Life is filled with unlearned lessons

There are days that I almost believe evolutionists in that we are… Continue reading

Canadians believe in immigration but concerned about asylum seekers: study

OTTAWA — Canadians are generally supportive of current immigration levels, a survey… Continue reading

Quebec announces plan to compensate taxi drivers after Uber’s arrival

MONTREAL — The Quebec government has outlined how it intends to compensate… Continue reading

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

OTTAWA — The loss of Saudi Arabian resident physicians in Canada’s hospitals… Continue reading

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Death Valley worker has seen highest, lowest temperatures

LAS VEGAS — Thousands of tourists descend on Death Valley each summer… Continue reading

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

BANFF, Alta. — An internationally known ski resort in Banff National Park… Continue reading

Folk singer Ian Tyson cancels show due to ‘serious medical situation’

TORONTO — Canadian folk singer-songwriter Ian Tyson has cancelled his appearance at… Continue reading

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