Friday, April 17, 2009

A half-Harted post

Shoot me for that title. Seriously.

Stephen Hart . . . in pictures

Stephen Hart, the action figure. Apparently, there's another Stephen Hart.

Stephen Hart, certified badass.

Stephen Hart . . . the press release

Association appoints Stephen Hart as interim head coach

The Canadian Soccer Association announced today that technical director Stephen Hart will assume, on an interim basis, the head coaching responsibilities for the men's senior national team for the duration of the 2009 season. Mr. Hart will lead Canada at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer, starting with the international friendly match in Larnaca against Cyprus on 30 May.

"We are very happy to have Mr. Hart in this role for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup," said Canadian Soccer Association President Dr. Dominic Maestracci.

Canada's 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup schedule opens 3 July against Jamaica in Los Angeles, CA. Canada then faces El Salvador on 7 July in Columbus, OH and Costa Rica on 10 July in Miami, FL. There are three groups of four teams, so eight of the 12 teams will advance to the quarter-final stage in Philadelphia, PA (18 July) and Dallas, TX (19 July). The tournament then moves to Chicago, IL for the semi-final on 23 July and New York, NY for the championship final on 26 July.

"The task in hand will be to lead Canada at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup," said Canadian Soccer Association Technical Director Stephen Hart.

Mr. Hart was named the Canadian Soccer Association's Technical Director in March 2008. He heads the Association's long-term player development plan, specifically the Wellness to World Cup campaign. He is also in charge of directing and monitoring the national development teams, the coaching education program, the National Training Centres, and the sports medicine program. With the national teams, he has most recently served as an assistant coach with the men's national team. Two years ago as the team's interim head coach, he led Canada to a semi-final finish at the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Stephen Hart . . . by the numbers

Stephen in his previous MNT head coaching stint:

Date Opponent Location Type CAN Opp Result
09/04/06 Jamaica Montreal Friendly 1 0 Win
10/08/06 Jamaica Kingston Friendly 1 2 Loss
11/15/06 Hungary Szekesfehervar Friendly 0 1 Loss
03/25/07 Bermuda Hamilton, Ber. Friendly 3 0 Win
06/01/07 Venezuela Maracaibo Friendly 2 2 Draw
06/06/07 Costa Rica Miami Gold Cup 2 1 Win
06/09/07 Guadeloupe Miami Gold Cup 1 2 Loss
06/11/07 Haiti Miami Gold Cup 2 0 Win
06/16/07 Guatemala Foxboro, MA Gold Cup 3 0 Win
06/21/07 USA Chicago Gold Cup 1 2 Loss

16 10

Wins 5

Draws 1

Losses 4

Stephen Hart . . . his temporary appointment analyzed in that annoying way where people answer their own questions

Is Hart a better coach than Mitchell?
Probably. Almost certainly, in fact.

Is Hart the best man for the job?
Probably not, though the price is right since he's already under contract.

Is all hope lost for the upcoming Gold Cup?
No. He did well last time in this situation (see above).

Do you want him in charge when the next WCQ rolls around?

Is it a good thing that he is considered a favourite of the players?
Yes and no. Mostly no. A subset of players that were entirely too comfortable with their position was a big reason for the WCQ failure.

When should we expect a new man in charge?
Just a hunch, but June 2010.

This is news, not in the "OMG lolz need to tweet this shit so amazng!!?!" sense, where something totally unexpected happens, but rather in the Canadian soccer sense, where the totally expected happens, and it was only a question of when.

Canada will be in tough at the Gold Cup, no matter who was in charge. Hart can do the job if the players are committed, but I might even had said the same of the team under Mitchell.

Whatever. It was a happening, and was enough for me to pop my posting cherry that had been growing back over the last week.

I've been too focussed on the hockey playoffs anyway (2nd place -- look for 'JW' -- in the pool)

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