CSA must make right move

GARETH WHEELER

, Last Updated: 3:01 AM ET

"A New Direction?"

The question is, will it be a better direction?

With the Canadian Soccer Association's firing of Dale Mitchell, betters days are hoped to follow for the battered and bruised men's program.

The infighting, disorganization, and unnecessary turmoil are things of the past. They have to stop.

The no-timetable search for a new coach is on. The process will not be rushed, so whoever coaches the side in their upcoming friendly against Cyprus and/or the Gold Cup will be doing so in a caretaker capacity with the aim at getting younger players much-needed international experience.

Over the short-term, qualification for World Cup 2014 is the goal. But the CSA needs more than just a coach. They need a figurehead for the program; a person who can properly dictate how soccer is played at all levels here.

In the past, it's been believed CSA governance has been reluctant to give up such power. Whether this was true in the past or not the the CSA is ready to move in a new direction -- and that means following the blueprint of their hiring of women's head coach, Carolina Morace.

In Morace, they got a well-respected figure internationally who has brought a professional approach, new methods of training, a willingness to work with women of all ages, and a fresh mindset how soccer should be played by all women across Canada.

Speaking to CSA general secretary Peter Montopoli, it sounds like the men are after a Morace of their own.

"We're looking for someone who has world experience -- someone who's had international success to help us regain respect from the international community."

Montopoli hasn't ruled out a Canadian taking over the program, but that seems unlikely based on the criteria.

When asked how budgetary constraints will affect the search, Montopoli said it will play a role but will not be the overriding factor If the CSA has the financial wherewithal, and is willing to give up technical control of the men's program the job could be an appealing position for an ambitious candidate.

Slowly but surely, proper infrastructure is being put into place to sustain a strong program. This started with the professional teams. As the clubs continue to grow and expand, so will our national program. Finding Canada's new face for international soccer is the next step.

Wake up Ottawa

Will the city of Ottawa please wake up?

The stalling and meandering over the soccer vs. CFL football stadium debate already cost Ottawa an expansion team in 2011.

MLS commissioner Don Garber said he wants 20 teams by 2012. Make no mistake; if Ottawa can get a stadium deal in place, a team will come.

And with a new Ottawa soccer stadium, the CSA would certainly be involved in establishing a training centre and practice fields at the Kanata location.

And if you're comparing the costs of running an MLS team and the potential revenue streams from it, compared to a CFL franchise, there really should be no conversation.

TFC on form

You couldn't ask for a better start to the season for Toronto FC, taking four points after two road games.

Coming away from Columbus with a point has the team brimming with confidence heading into its home opener Saturday against the red-hot, expansion Seattle Sounders.

Thus far, we have learned:

- Greg Sutton should be the starting goalkeeper. A couple big saves in the second half at Columbus showed his shot-stopping ability. No disrespect to Stefan Frei, Sutton's the best fit to win now.

- TFC still needs a defender in the mold of Columbus' Chad Marshall. It's not that Marshall's the most dominant or skillful centre-back, but he's a no-nonsense player who's positionally sound.

- When Carl Robinson and Amado Guevara come back from international duty, Pablo Vitti will be that much more dangerous up front. It didn't come off for him Saturday, but his runs off the ball are intelligent.

- The amount of time spent in the attacking third is extremely encouraging, especially on the road. The side is much more confident on the ball than in years past.

- Dwayne de Rosario's form has been top-notch. Not only his creativity and poise, but his work-rate has been superior.

GARETH.WHEELER@SUNTV.CANOE.CA


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