With the Canadian program firmly focusing on the future, there’s a new man in charge of a key element of the player pipeline, the men’s Under-20 national team.
The Canadian Soccer Association announced on Monday that Robert Gale is the new head coach of the squad, effective Tuesday. He previously served as head coach of the U-16 and U-18 national teams, and was Canada’s assistant coach at last year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup.
“It’s an honor to lead the men’s U-20 national team,” Gale said in a release. “I look forward to working with the players and developing the necessary plans to move forward. I am both humbled and proud to have this opportunity.”
In his new role, Gale will likely get the chance to continue working with several of the nation’s highly-touted youngsters, including goalkeeper Marco Carducci (Vancouver Whitecaps), midfielder Hanson Boakai (FC Edmonton) and striker Jordan Hamilton (Toronto FC).
“Rob brings a wealth of coaching experience, having worked both in Canada and overseas in player development,” CSA technical director Tony Fonseca said in a release. “His coaching credentials are of the highest order and his ability can be seen in the players as well as the coaches he has mentored.”
His first order of business will be preparing for the team’s first training camp in May. The team will travel to Ireland in July to play in the Dale Farm Milk Cup, and will participate in the CONCACAF U-20 Championship early next year, which will serve as the qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Gale takes over from Nick Dasovic, who oversaw the team in last year’s CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which ended in a 4-2 loss to the USA in the quarterfinals. Dasovic has since become an assistant coach with the San Jose Earthquakes.
That team featured the likes of MLSers Doneil Henry (Toronto FC) and Maxime Crepeau (Montreal Impact), as well as several players currently experiencing success abroad, including Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers), Samuel Piette (Fortuna Dusseldorf II) and Caleb Clarke (FC Augsburg II, on loan from Vancouver Whitecaps).
With the academies of Canada’s three MLS teams – and the country’s two NASL teams – pumping out players like never before, Gale has high hopes for the future. The goal, he says in the release, is “to build on what has already been accomplished, by creating a new vibrant chemistry – a chemistry that we must not be afraid to express on the world stage. I believe in this group and I promise you, we’ll be ready to face any competitor come qualifying.”