Paul Peschisolido has expressed an interest in the vacant head coaching position with the Canadian men’s senior team.
Peschisolido, a 41-year-old native of Scarborough, Ont., played in 53 games for Canada from 1992 to 2004, scoring ten goals. Most recently, the former striker spent three seasons as manager of Burton Albion in England’s lower divisions.
Canada’s head coaching job became vacant Thursday when Stephen Hart tendered his resignation.
“It’s a job I would love to be considered for,” Peschisolido told Sportsnet. “Being a Canadian, having the stint here (in England) in management… I feel I have a lot to offer.”
Married to West Ham United vice-chairman Karen Brady, Peschisolido said he spent this past summer in Canada with his family and is eager to return. The 1996 Canadian player of the year is excited about the sport’s growing visibility in Toronto and abroad.
“Back when I was playing for Toronto Blizzard when I was 16, we’d barely have over a thousand fans (at games). I’m envious to see the crowds now for the pro clubs and Canada. It’s great to see the way the game has grown,” Peschisolido said.
Peschisolido watched Tuesday’s 8-1 loss to Honduras, a result that not only eliminated Canada from World Cup contention, but also led Hart to step down as coach.
A member of Canada’s Gold Cup winning team in 2000, Peschisolido believes experience within CONCACAF is a must for Canada’s next coach.
“Having played in CONCACAF, I know what those countries are all about, it’s a different animal, let me tell you,” Peschisolido stated. “You’ve got to be bloody tough mentally. Those places weed out the weak amongst your team.
“You have to go into those countries with a siege mentality, like you’re going into battle, because if you’re not focused, they’ll kill you.”
Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani would agree, having told reporters earlier in the week that Hart’s eventual replacement needs to know first-hand what it’s like to compete in Honduras and other Central American nations.
“We will be looking for the best candidate for this program, keeping in mind that one of the key ingredients is not just international experience, but also having the understanding of what it means to compete in the environments that we just experienced … which are significantly different than standing on other sidelines in other place in the world where you have to qualify,” Montagliani stated.
Peschisolido went on to state that he believes his experience playing in England (he played for Fulham, Birmingham City, Sheffield United and Derby County, among other teams) could be a valuable asset when dealing with today’s crop of players that are suiting up — or considering suiting up — for Canada.
“Perhaps, because I’ve done it myself, I know the difficulties and challenges that come with playing in Europe,” Peschisolido said. “I think I could try to tap into that, and I believe I could entice players to play for Canada.”