Pellerud joins Trinidad and Tobago

September 13, 2009, 3:22 AM

THE CANADIAN PRESS

Former Canadian women’s coach Even Pellerud has a new job — director of women’s soccer for Trinidad and Tobago.

The Norwegian native has signed a four-year contract with the Caribbean country, with Job 1 to lead the host side at the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup next year.

"My aim is to take this team out of the first round and into the quarter-final stages of the competition," Pellerud said in a statement Friday.

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and special adviser to the country’s football federation, said the TTFF had "hired the No. 1 and best female coach in the world."

Pellerud, 55, came to Canada in 2000 with a distinguished resume, having coached Norway to the 1995 Women’s World Cup title.

Canada finished fourth at the 2003 World Cup under Pellerud and made the quarter-finals in the Beijing Olympics. The 2-1 extra-time loss in Shanghai to the eventual gold medallist Americans was Pellerud’s last game in charge,

"He’s done so much for this program," captain Christine Sinclair said at the time. "He’s changed all our lives."

Pellerud brought professionalism to the Canadian women’s scene. Away from the field, he helped secure funding that allowed the team to live together in a residency camp in Vancouver before major tournaments.

"It has been a wonderful nine years for me and my family and the program," he said at the Olympics. "There has been continual development of the team and for women’s soccer in Canada. "

As a player in Norway, Pellerud had stints with Vlerenga Oslo and Kongsvinger. He earned one cap with Norway’s Olympic team in 1983.

In Trinidad, Pellerud said he will be hiring a full-time female coach.

The new coach will have a way to go. Trinidad is ranked 41st in the FIFA’s women’s rankings, compared to No. 11 for Canada.

But with a powerful benefactor like Warner behind the scenes, soccer gets plenty of attention in Trinidad.

Warner, who is also president of the CONCACAF region which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, says the cost of running all TTFF programs, excluding the South Africa 2010 men’s World Cup campaign, is approximately C$3.2 million. That’s $800,000 more than Canada spent on its senior men’s program last year.

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