Canadian coaches abroad: the round-up

Dwight Lodeweges

There’s a small group of coaches with Canadian roots working abroad, from the glamour of top divisions to lower tiers across the globe. For his part, Canadian-born Dwight Lodeweges was recently in the headlines when hundreds of SC Cambuur fans demanded his immediate resignation as manager…

With the domestic calendar in Europe winding down while MLS heats up, it’s time to take stock of the Canadian managers, coaches, and trainers working at football clubs overseas. Last time we checked in with the Canadian coaches plying their trade abroad, Colin Miller was interim national team boss. Major Ligue Soccer looked at a few potential candidates to replace him after the 2013 Gold Cup, tracking down those with coaching experience and a Canadian connection to speak of.

I had put forward John van ‘t Schip for the Canada job, a former Dutch international born in BC who seemed interested, but the CSA opted for Spaniard Benito Floro.

While Floro searches for his first win with Canada, van ‘t Schip returned to former club Melbourne Heart later in the year as Technical Manager, eventually re-taking the head coach reigns in December. He signed a 3-year contract extension earlier this year.

birchamsmallFirst-team coach Marc Bircham recently made the move from Queens Park Rangers to Millwall, two clubs where he was a fan favourite. His Canadian connection came in the form of a grandfather, which allowed the combative midfielder to suit up for the national team between 1999 and 2004.

As development squad coach at QPR, Bircham helped usher young Canadians Dylan Carreiro and Michael Petrasso through the ranks, and his latest move across London is a step up the coaching ladder. His experience in England can only help his ambition of coaching Canada in the future.

Mark WatsonMark Watson is one of two Canadian head coaches in MLS – neither of them at one of the three Canadian sides. Two-time MLS Cup winner Frank Yallop was a candidate for the Vancouver job in the off-season, but it went to Carl Robinson. Yallop ended up at Chicago, while Watson is currently assisted by Nick Dasovic at San Jose.

Down a division, Alen Marcina is leading San Antonio Scorpions in the NASL, while Pat Ercoli serves as president of third division side Rochester Rhinos. He spent the 2013 season coaching the club, his second stint as head coach.

Alberta-born Dwight Lodeweges, pictured above, led SC Cambuur to a strong start this year, attracting the attention of rivals SC Heerenveen. Last month, Heereveen secured Lodeweges’ services to replace Marco van Basten next season – much to the dislike of Cambuur’s fans.

Dozens of ultras stormed the club’s training ground after hearing the news, leading Lodeweges to end his time with the club ahead of schedule. The Dutch coach had famously left FC Edmonton high and dry in late 2010, leaving the club before they had played a game in order to take a job in Japan.

Goran MiscevićGoran Miscević, who once coached Brampton City United in the Canadian Soccer League, is blazing a trail in the Middle East as a promotion specialist. The Croatian-Canadian joined Al-Arabi in the United Arab Emirates in January, marking his sixth club in the region. He was previously profiled by Kamal Hyton at Red Nation Online.

The president at Miscević’s former club Al Ittihad Kalba had spoken candidly about the manager’s salary and ability last summer, and it looks as though the one-time Metro Lions boss’s relationship with his former employers failed to improve in the early part of the 2013/14 season.

When D.C. United owner Erick Thohir invested in Inter Milan earlier this year, it led to a personnel shuffle between the MLS club and the Italian giants. Amongst the swap was former Canadian international Enzo Concina, formerly Walter Mazzari’s right-hand man at Napoli and Inter.

Concina is busy assisting Ben Olsen in the D.C. United dugout, and now that he’s coaching in North America, the Italian-Canadian would love to add to the APSL title he won with Montreal as a player in 1994.

Cowdenbeath boss Jimmy Nicholl was born in Hamilton and even played for Toronto Blizzard in a couple of a spells, but he’s more closely associated with Manchester United and Northern Ireland for his career in the 70s and 80s. Similarly, Real Salt Lake assistant Andy Williams was born in Toronto before moving abroad.

There are also a number of Canucks working abroad in other roles. Richard Bucciarelli, fitness coach with Toronto’s academy, reportedly spent some time with Uruguayan side Canadian S.C. during the preseason. Nilton Terroso is Head of Sports Science at Premier League side Cardiff City (summer 2014 update: Nilton is now head coach of Cardiff’s U-21 side).

Northern Alberta native Darcy Norman has worked as a fitness trainer with Bayern Munich and the German national team, helping Die Mannschaft to the sport’s highest honour last summer in Brazil. As far as I can tell, Norman is the first Canadian to win the World Cup in any role, whether as a player or staff member.

Jordan SantiagoFormer SC Veendam stopper Jordan Santiago took up a post with West Ham’s Academy in 2013, serving as goalkeeping coach for the U-13 to U-16 squads. New Brunswick native Remi Roy is in his 5th year as New England Revolution’s goalkeeping coach, while Toronto native Brian Rowland had a similar role with D.C. United until becoming assistant to fellow Canadian Sasho Cirovski at the University of Maryland last year.

The University of Michigan is led by another Canuck, Chaka Daley, while Toronto-born John Kerr is head coach at Duke. Josh Wagenaar is assistant coach at LA Tech’s women’s program, having spent time as goalkeeper coach at Graceland University.

Billionaire Frank Stronach, former president of Austria Wien and SC Wiener Neustadt, was rumoured to be in line to take over Fort Lauderdale Strikers last summer, but it never materialized. Another Canadian businessman, Jack Kachkar, was fined in 2011 for falsifying documents in his attempt to buy Marseille in 2006.

Pavel MalamuraIn early 2013, Vancouver-based developer Pavel Malamura took over German fifth division side SC Fürstenfeldbruck, apparently to give playing time to his two sons and to make their agent, Dylan Hughes, the club’s sporting director. It’s not clear if Malamura is still involved with the now-relegated side. Other Canadians running an overseas club are Bob Munro, Chairman at Mathare United in Kenya, and Mitchell Goldhar, who bought Maccabi Tel Aviv from fellow Canadian Alex Schnaider in 2009. Ralph Krueger, former Edmonton Oilers head coach in the NHL, became Southampton’s chairman in March.

In between campaigning for Rob Ford and training Al Saadi Gadhafi, disgraced Olympic sprinter Ben Johnson has taken up coaching gigs in the Middle East and Australia in recent years. Ryan Gyaki once acted as a language teacher at former club Hansa Rostock but is now an assistant coach at Mount Royal University in his native Calgary. Max Bell, who served as Communications Manager with Canada’s national team until fall 2013, left to take up a position with Norwich City’s media team.

Have I missed anyone between last year’s article and this update? Let me know in the comment form below.


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About canadianfootball

Student of the game. @scott_ferguson

4 responses to “Canadian coaches abroad: the round-up”

  1. WheatsheafSK says :

    In the owners/directors category, Mitchell Goldhar is listed as owner and chairman of Maccabi Tel Aviv – Israel Premier League Champions and home club of Canadian keeper Tomer Chencinski –

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