Hart steps down as Canada coach


The first Canadian casualty following the Canucks’ embarrassing exit from World Cup qualifying has been claimed, and to no one’s surprise it is head coach Stephen Hart.

Hart resigned as Canada’s coach on Thursday afternoon, two days after witnessing his team get dismantled, 8-1, at the hands of Honduras in a match the Canucks only needed a draw from in order to advance to the Hexagonal round of qualifying. Their now-infamous loss in San Pedro Sula, which was the worst by a Canada side in almost 20 years, extended a damning streak that has not seen the Canadians advance to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying since 1997.

The 52-year-old Hart may have ended his time with Canada in one of the worst ways imaginable but he still is the coach with the best win percentage in team history, finishing with a 20-15-10 record.

He had served the Canucks on an interim basis several times before being appointed head coach on a permanent basis in 2009.

What do you think of Hart stepping down? Who do you think Canada should try and hire next? Are more changes within the Canadian federation needed in order to turn things around?

Share your thoughts below.

      • Scott A

        The U.S. would have to not make it to 6 World Cups in a row, get to the knockout rounds, and not be good at a bunch of other sports for the basketball retort to make sense.


      • H94

        That’s because USA has 10 times our population. You guys don’t do any better than us for your size.


  • Tom Traubert

    It sounds crazy but imagine hiring Bob Bradley. He knows CONCACAF and could certainly figure out how to beat the US once in a while (cynics will note that he was good at getting US to lose when he was coach). I doubt they would hire a US citizen but seriously, it should be the US, Mexico, and Canada in the WC every cycle.


    • Gnarls 2.0

      Couple thoughts on that. First, Bradley seems dedicated to the Pharaohs. I doubt he’ll be looking for a new job until after 2014. And second, Egypt failed to qualify for the Cup of Nations, so would Canada really want to hire him even if he was available and willing?


      • The Imperative Voice

        I generally agree Bradley is a stand up sort who will take Egypt as far as they can go this WC cycle. So he’s not even available. But the ACON critique is less than fair because the domestic league was suspended and CAF had them doing WCQ one day and ACON qualifying the next week. Kinda nuts. When we did Gold Cup and Copa America back to back the less essential endeavor turned out like a joke.


  • The Imperative Voice

    I know he got them close and that hurts but when the guy has your best coaching record ever, and the team that kicked your butt was a talented Honduran team at home, I don’t know if this pushes Canada forward. It reminds me of TFC firing coaches for getting them close, which has only gotten them farther away. Or like dramatic gestures such as the whole Egypt soccer board quitting because of one incident at one game, suspending the league, etc.


  • Scott A

    When (if?) Canada does get their soccer act together, it’ll be like when the Detroit Tigers started to win a few years ago. They seem too adorable, it’ll be strange, and we’ll have to adjust to start taking them seriously.


  • Felix

    I think this is more symbolic than anything. After a defeat that humiliating, the coach should step down – but I doubt Mourinho or Sir Alex themselves would have made that much of a difference (closer scoreline but still a loss).
    The issues up north are more endemic than whose making tactical and call-up decisions.


    • beto

      disappointing for Canada; they are obviously not a world cup team but they should be making it to the hex consistently. If Canada had a more recognized coach and just a bit of success to build on they could convince those dual nationals to play for Canada. If they were to add Holiett and De Guzman to their squad they would be a much stronger force, just too bad for the vets that are retiring from team Canada with a 8-1 elimination.


      • The Imperative Voice

        I think a key factor is building up Canada’s pro sides and winning more of their players back home for club ball. I’m surprised how few Canadians the MLS teams have after a few years of Canadian MLS soccer. In terms of putting us permanently at a hex-level, I think MLS did that. We have a ready made body of pro players to draw upon with few excuses to evade international duty. Only the odd Friedel or Chandler balks at it.

        That being said, the level of the Canadian MLS teams needs to go up to prime that pump. Right now being in the bottom half is less attractive. You need a magnet team(s) that attract players and are playing well enough where the Canadians on the team have the incentive to play hard every week.


    • The Imperative Voice

      But if Sir Alex has a bad night does he quit?

      Canada only has so many soccer minds around, and unless they’re hiring a better coach, this guy had their best record ever, what is this doing positively for them?

      It reminds me of how Cummins got treated at TFC. They lost big to NYRB in a key last game of the season where he at least had them on the edge of qualification, fired Cummins, they’ve never been so close since. I think unless you hire a better coach it’s style over substance.

      Bears noting the US had a lengthy progression. 82 we were dead last in an early round qualifying group with Canada and Mexico. 86 we were second in an early round qualifying group with CR and T&T. 90 we were second to CR in a five-team final group, Mexico was out that time, made the WC. And only then did we start routinely making it. There was like a 40-year gap in there where we weren’t. Canada used to routinely be competing for spots then and has essentially switched places.


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