Friday, March 27, 2009

Dale Mitchell fired


After the disaster of a World Cup qualifying campaign in 2008, everybody wanted Dale gone. But now that the deed is done, I feel like it is important to offer some perspective on Mitchell as a figure in Canadian soccer:
  • Mitchell is, arguably, the greatest player ever to play for Canada. He was part of the only team in Canadian history to qualify for the World Cup finals, and is the leading scorer among players to wear the red and white.
  • As a manager, he has a mixed set of results. He performed above expectations with his U20 teams until the 2007 tournament (qualifying and performing well in 2003 and 2005 are achievements that shouldn't be diminished).
  • As a senior side manager, he did not perform any worse in WCQ than the previous two men to attempt the feat: both Holger's Heroes and the Frank Yallop Experience crashed and burned in similar fashion. Holger got a few wins in 2000, but in a much easier group. Yallop's team also didn't strike fear into any opposition.
Word is that there is no one to take his spot for now. An interim coach will likely take the reigns for the Gold Cup. It should also be noted that this is a straight up firing, and not a re-assignment within the CSA ranks as was previously rumoured.

Your thoughts?
The Mitchell era has more or less coincided with the life of this blog, so I am interested to see what life is like with a new manager. I'm not foolish enough to start speculating about which unaffordable Brazilian or Dutch coach we should hire as a replacement, and I'm also not so hard-headed to suggest that a Canadian can't do the job. I'm perfectly content to wait and see, for the moment.

Saturday update: Most of the rest of the Canadian soccer bloggerati have weighed in on Mitchell's firing:
The short CSA presser doesn't have any details you won't find anywhere else.

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