Benito Floro out, and another coaching search begins for Canadian men

Gavin Day

With the Canadian Soccer Association announcing that Benito Floro’s time as men’s national team head coach has come to an end, the carousel begins again.

It’s become like clockwork that Canada hires a coach, they get the men as far as the semifinal round of qualifying, and after elimination a new face takes over for the next cycle. Floro had a different background and viewpoint from previous coaches who were largely Canadian but the result, as in the past, was the same.

“At the end of the day, it’s a results business,” said CSA president Victor Montagliani as he announced the decision not to extend Floro’s contract. The Spaniard's deal ran through the 2018 World Cup qualifying cycle that ended for Canada on Sept. 6, after a 3-1 win over El Salvador wasn’t enough to get them through to The Hex for the first time in nearly two decades.

Football Soccer - Canada's training - World Cup Qualifiers - Mexico City, Mexico. 28/3/16. Canada's head coach Benito Floro arrives to attend a news conference after a training session at Azteca stadium, in preparation for their World Cup qualifying match against Mexico. REUTERS/Henry Romero
Football Soccer - Canada's training - World Cup Qualifiers - Mexico City, Mexico. 28/3/16. Canada's head coach Benito Floro arrives to attend a news conference after a training session at Azteca stadium, in preparation for their World Cup qualifying match against Mexico. REUTERS/Henry Romero

“But in terms of the direction that we’re pointing, the amount of players we’ve brought through, the young players that we’ve brought through, how we approach qualification in terms of preparation, those are all things that have been brought to an international level in the last four years.”

Unlike previous World Cup qualifying failures when the team would go into a hibernation of at least a few months, Montagliani said the team should be involved in the two remaining FIFA international windows this year, meaning there is an urgent need to find temporary stability. Montagliani said they don’t have an interim coach named just yet but they’ll obviously need someone soon.

The odds are good they’ll go to someone within the program for the time being, with Floro’s assistant Michael Findlay or technical director Tony Fonseca likely to handle things in the short term. But as is always the question at this stage, who’s next?

“There’s no timetable, there’s no rush, but we always want to be exhaustive and cast a net and see how we want to move forward after that,” said Montagliani.

Montagliani said they’ll look at foreign as well as domestic candidates, but given Canada’s lack of financial clout compared to other more fancied programs, the question is open to all kinds of speculation.

Former Canadian internationals with international coaching experience include Nick Dasovic, who was under-20 head coach in 2013, while Paul Stalteri is currently taking his first coaching steps in charge of the national under-17 team.

Looking at other coaching possibilities around the CONCACAF region, former Seattle Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid is available, Bob Bradley is currently at Le Havre in France while former Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera is at Club Tijuana. In the case of Bradley and Herrera, their international experience coaching in CONCACAF is a massive advantage.

Floro’s fate is similar to former England and Mexico boss Sven Goran Eriksson, whose pedigree in Europe never translated to international games in CONCACAF, where the atmospheres and quirks of the region can be lost on those who have never experienced them.

Floro did have experience in the region coaching Mexico’s Monterrey at the turn of the millennium, but club and international football are completely different.

“The reality of our situation is we do have domestic candidates but we also have to look elsewhere,” Montagliani said. “I don’t think we’re excluding anybody and specifically our own.”