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RHIAN WILKINSON

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“To be at the helm of this young team is just a privilege,” said Rhian Wilkinson, Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-17 Head Coach. “Canada are a world-class team that can handle all types of formats and physical play. Our players really showed who they were today against a very strong German team.”

https://www.canadasoccer.com/canada-make-history-with-1-0-quarter-final-win-over-germany-at-uruguay-2018--p161951

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Canada make history with 1:0 Quarter-final win over Germany at Uruguay 2018

Posted on 26 November 2018 in ↳ Women's EXCEL U-14 to U-17

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Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-17 team have earned a Semi-final berth at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Uruguay 2018 for the first time in program history. Canada defeated Germany 1:0 in the Quarter-final at Estadio Charrúa in Montevideo on a goal by Jordyn Huitema (83’). It was Canada’s first win in a FIFA women’s youth tournament knockout match since 2002.

“To be at the helm of this young team is just a privilege,” said Rhian Wilkinson, Canada Soccer’s Women’s U-17 Head Coach. “Canada are a world-class team that can handle all types of formats and physical play. Our players really showed who they were today against a very strong German team.”
 
Canada will face Mexico in the Semi-final with a place in the 1 December Final in Montevideo on the line. The two teams met in the Semi-final of the 2018 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship with the Mexicans defeating Canada 2:1 to qualify for Uruguay 2018 before falling in the Final to the United States 3:2. Canada went on to defeat Haiti in the Match for Third Place to earn their place in Uruguay 2018.
 
The Canada-Mexico Semi-final kicks off at 19.00 local (17.00 ET / 14.00 PT) on Wednesday 28 November. It will mark the first-ever encounter between the two Concacaf nations at a FIFA women’s youth tournament. Mexico earned their place in the Semi-final after defeating Ghana 2:2 (4:2 on PK) in the earlier match on 25 November.
 
Canada defended well and had the majority of possession of the first half but were unable to create a quality scoring chance. Lara Kazadjian had the only threatening opportunity with her shot from 20 yards just over the bar.

The second half started with sustained pressure from the Germans, but Canada’s strong play in the back and through the midfied continued to keep Germany at bay. Jordyn Huitema nearly had a wide-open chance at goal in the 60’ but the ball got stuck in her feet on the feed from Andersen Williams. Almost immediately after, Germany had a counter attack that Vallerand came across to clear. On the ensuing corner, Germany nearly broke through but landed a header on top of Karpenko’s net.
 
Huitema broke through again and forced a save from the German goalkeeper Wiebke Willebrandt in the 71’. Balata had a chance on the ensuing scramble to clear the ball, but, her touch was heavy and went out for a goal kick.
 
Germany pinned Canada into their own third with a series of corner kicks won through the 79’, but they would soon break through off a long run from Caitlin Shaw during which she split three German defenders.  Shaw’s run led to a brilliant ball onto the strong left foot of Kaila Novak whose first touch cross into the box and run of Jordyn Huitema (83’) was buried into the German net to put Canada ahead 1:0.

Of note, Huitema became just the third Canadian player to score in four different FIFA women’s youth matches, joining the elite company of Christine Sinclair and Brittany Timko.

“We are on the right path and it is the result of the great development that is happening across Canada and the investment by Canada Soccer,” said Kenneth Heiner-Møller, Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team Head Coach and Women’s EXCEL Program Director. “It is a big congratulations to all the coaches in Canada and everyone who has helped teach these girls.”
 
Canada coach Rhian Wilkinson started Anna Karpenko in goal, Jayde Riviere at right back, Maya Antoine and Jade Rose at centre back, Julianne Vallerand at left back, Caitlin Shaw, Kaila Novak, Lara Kazandjian, Wayny Balata, Andersen Williams, and Captain Jordyn Huitema from midfield through attack.
 
Wilkinson replaced Williams with Jessica De Filippo (75’), Shaw with Ariel Young (90’), and Rose with Sonia Walk (90’+).

Since 2013, Canada Soccer’s investment in the Women’s EXCEL program and Regional EXCEL Centres has graduated 18 players to the Women’s National Team. Alongside the investment in player development, Canada Soccer’s Elite Player Elite Coach program launched in 2016 highlights the development of player-turned-coach Rhian Wilkinson, who has now led Canada to their first-ever Semi-final at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
 
Having reached the Semi-final, this will be Canada’s highest finish in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.  Canada has placed in the top ten participating nations in each edition of the tournament, but, had previously reached a highest position of seventh in New Zealand 2008 and Azerbaijan 2012.  Canada placed tenth at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, eighth at Costa Rica 2014, and ninth in Jordan 2016.
 
Canada marks the 10-year anniversary of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup as one of only six nations to have qualified for every edition since it was launched in 2008, alongside Germany, Ghana, Japan, New Zealand and Korea DPR.

 
FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018

  • The official slogan for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup is Same Game Same Emotion. (A slogan to unite the generations).
  • The tournament's four groups are Group A: Uruguay, Ghana, New Zealand, Finland; Group B: Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, Japan; Group 😄 USA, Cameroon, Korea DPR, Germany; and, Group 😧 Korea Republic, Spain, Canada, Colombia.
  • A total of 32 matches, across four groups containing 16 teams, will be played to decide the winner of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018.
  • Korea DPR are the reigning champions of the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and the tournament's most successful competitor with two titles (2008, 2016).  Japan (2014), South Korea (2010), and France (2012) have also raised the coveted youth trophy as the world's top U-17 women's team.   Korea DPR was also the runner-up in 2012 and Japan was the runner-up in both 2010 and 2016.  
  • Spain, whom Canada will play in its final group stage match, were runners-up in 2014 and third place winners in 2010 and 2016.
  • A total of 32 nations have competed in the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup since it started in 2008.

 
Background – Canada Soccer Women's U-17 National Team

  • Canada Soccer's Roster for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018: https://www.canadasoccer.com/canada-soccer-selects-21-young-players-for-fifa-u-17-women-s-world-cup-uruguay-2018-p161906
  • The FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 is Canada's sixth appearance in the penultimate competition for players born before 2004. Canada's has placed in the top ten participating nations in each edition of the tournament reaching its highest position of seventh in New Zealand 2008 and Azerbaijan 2012.  Canada placed tenth at Trinidad and Tobago 2010, eighth at Costa Rica 2014, and ninth in Jordan 2016, with a historical total of six wins, six draws and six losses.
  • Canadians registered 14 goals at the competition prior to 2018, with Marie Levasseur topping the goal-scoring list with four in 2014.
  • Canada qualified for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Uruguay 2018 by capturing third place at the Concacaf U-17 Women's Championship earlier this year.
  • Canada has twice before placed third in the Concacaf qualifier for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, in Trinidad and Tobago 2008 and Grenada 2016.  Canada won the qualifier in Costa Rica 2010 and placed second in both Jamaica 2013 and Grenada 2016.  In total, Canada has 17 wins, two draws and six losses in qualification campaigns for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cups.

Following Canada's successful hosting of the inaugural FIFA women's youth tournament, the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in 2002, FIFA began making plans to hold both the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup to match the youth competition format for men.  Notably, Canada Soccer Women's National Team Captain Christine Sinclair won the golden boot for most goals at the 2002 tournament as Canada placed runners-up to the USA and launching a rivalry that thrives today.
 
About Canada Soccer's Women's National EXCEL Program

Canada Soccer Women's National EXCEL Program brings together the best with the best at the national youth level, throughout the year. Operating across the U-14 to U-20 age groups, the program is designed to deliver an aligned talent structure and system that progresses more top players to Canada's Women's National Team. Major competitions are viewed as staging posts to assess development and allow for the development of the Women's EXCEL Team Playing Model and tournament processes and expertise which will ultimately prepare players to progress up the system.
 
Additionally, the most talented U-14 to U-18 players are offered a specialised daily training environment through the Regional EXCEL Program, which deliver Canada Soccer's national curriculum year-round through a two-tiered talent system, with three Super Centres streamlining Canada's National EXCEL Players into training environments in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec from smaller provincial licenced Centres.
 
Canada Soccer's Women's National Team
Canada is two-time Olympic bronze medal winners (2012 and 2016) and two-time CONCACAF champions (1998 and 2010). In all, Canada has participated in six consecutive editions of the FIFA Women's World Cup (1995 to 2015) and three successive editions of the Women's Olympic Football Tournament (2008 to 2016). At Rio 2016, Canada Soccer's Women's National Team were the first Canadian Olympic team to win back-to-back medals at a summer Olympic Games in more than a century and the only FIFA Member Association to repeat on the podium.
Canada will compete for an eighth FIFA Women's World Cup in France next year.  The draw to determine the group stage opponents takes place 8 December in Paris, France.
 
About Canada Soccer
Canada Soccer, in partnership with its membership and its partners, provides leadership in the pursuit of excellence in soccer, both at the national and international levels. Canada Soccer not only strives to lead Canada to victory, but also encourages Canadians to a life-long passion for soccer. For more details on Canada Soccer, visit the official website at www.canadasoccer.com

 

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Fact #1 - The CSA hired Rhian Wilkinson, who had zilch coaching experience (a volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater, University of Tennessee).

Fact #2 - Does Wilkinson really believe she was hired to manage a "world-class" team, at a World Cup Final, with zilch experience?

Fact #3 - The CSA was only too eager to publish Wilkinson's "world-class" assessment on their website.

 

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Is the Elite Regional EXCEL (REX) program under Wilkinson really producing comparable players to those of Spain, Mexico and lo and behold New Zealand.  Is Wilkinson really the right person is a B license enough?

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5 hours ago, The Ref said:

Is the Elite Regional EXCEL (REX) program under Wilkinson really producing comparable players to those of Spain, Mexico and lo and behold New Zealand.  Is Wilkinson really the right person is a B license enough?

The CSA has a long history of questionable hiring decisions when it comes to coaches for our national teams. The rash and cheap fix has always been the option of choice preferred by the CSA. How many years have we had an interim coaches in charge, after a head coach has quit or got fired? Who ever heard of a women's coach being placed in charge of a men's national team? And remember the time when Nick Dasovic was called out of the blue on very short notice to coach a national team? Speaking of Nick and Canadian coaches, it may be of interest to reread the following article again:

https://www.cbc.ca/sports-content/soccer/opinion/2012/05/the-roadblocks-to-becoming-a-canadian-soccer-coach.html

The road to becoming a professional soccer coach in Canada isn't easy. In fact, it's damn hard.

Multiple rounds trips across the Atlantic Ocean, tens of thousands of dollars in registration fees and nearly a decade of commitment will get you a UEFA pro license - but, what then? Jobs are few and far between and even in your own country where the clubs are always looking for something more.

That's where the head coach of the Canadian U-20 men's team, Nick Dasovic, finds himself today. Six months out from completing the highest certification in world football today and even with a well -padded resume he's struggling with the reality before him.

How does a Canadian coach find work in the world of club football?

"I've been asked the question a hundred times - what's it going to take for Canadian coaches to break through? And I don't have any answers.  I'm one of the lucky ones as I have a job with the CSA as youth level coach. But, for a lot of coaches, it's a question of how do you get an everyday job as a soccer coach in this country," Dasovic said from his home in Vancouver.

"What more can we do as coaches? Not a lot. We're not getting jobs in our own country, so we have to go hop on a plane, go to Europe and look for work there. But no European clubs are looking to hire Canadians, they're looking to hire locally - like we should be."

Dasovic has already had a run at being a pro coach in Canada. He was the interim head coach for Toronto FC in 2010. For him, it's a period he recalls with some lingering regrets.

"The regret I have most is that I didn't get a proper chance at Toronto. I got ten games and once you've got that interim tag on your back, you're basically a dead man walking - no matter how you do," Dasovic said. "I thought we did enough with that group, in that short time we had, to warrant being given more of a look. I was thankful for the opportunity but unfortunately Soccer Solutions came in and they clearly had a different kind of mandate - they hired a foreign coach and crew."

For Dasovic, the only mandate he has now is to finish out his license.  Football licenses are a lot like getting an MBA - as much as it is about what you'll learn, it's mostly about who you will meet that will be able to open doors for you down the line.

For the Canadian coach, that has meant rubbing shoulders with football's elite and learning from some of the biggest names in the game.

"The courses are loaded with ex-professionals looking to extend their careers but mostly it's the Andre Villas Boa's (former coach of Chelsea) and Sir Alex Ferguson's (manager of Manchester United) who you learn the most from," Dasovic said. "Ferguson has this aura about him. He commands attention when he walks in a room. He oozes confidence, oozes professionalism. And he is right to the point about what he thinks is right and what is not in football."

Most of the big names coaches will tell the UEFA pro candidates that it's all about winning. At the professional level, it's only about results and if you don't win, you won't get work.

"People in the market today talk about you have to have a vision and a philosophy, and they say you need a 5-year-plan. But you don't get five years in football. The average shelf life of a coach is 16 months. Winning should be paramount," Dasovic said.

And for the Canadian U-20 head coach, it was what Ferguson told him about his storied career and what mattered most to him that stuck.

"It was humbling to hear it. He didn't even mention his hundreds of trophies. He said that his proudest achievement was the kids who have come through his academies and have gone on to be 'good young people.'" Dasovic said. "That gave me a lot of pause in my own career."

It is an approach he now adapts to his own role within the national team setup. Youth coaches don't get a lot of time with the kids - seeing them three or four times a year at most - and the responsibility of developing their talent mostly falls to the professional clubs. 

"We're there to give them a different kind of development. We get them into our camps, we give them exposure to international football, exposure to what it means to play for your country, to see how they react in those types of situations and ready them for the pressures of playing on the national level. Ready them as people for the world of football," Dasovic said.

"I personally think that if you have a club in Canada you've got two responsibilities. It's your duty to promote Canadian players and produce them. And it's your duty to, at some stage on your pyramid, give chances to Canadian coaches so they can continue to do the same."

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10 hours ago, Robert said:

Fact #1 - The CSA hired Rhian Wilkinson, who had zilch coaching experience (a volunteer assistant coach at her alma mater, University of Tennessee).

Fact #2 - Does Wilkinson really believe she was hired to manage a "world-class" team, at a World Cup Final, with zilch experience?

Fact #3 - The CSA was only too eager to publish Wilkinson's "world-class" assessment on their website.

Fact #4 - Why did you start a new thread when there already was one within eyeshot about 4 inches down

Edited by Joe MacCarthy

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I find the thread and insinuation that that we need to kill of Wilkinson a bit over the top. What were people expecting, getting to a final at the tournament? Winning a bronze? Isn't 4th quite good, especially after handily qualifying after two games out of what was, in retrospect, a hard group?

I mean, we lost a semi-final to a really stupid penalty, down to the player, in a match we were close in from start to finish. Then the third place match we made a hugely dumb mistake that put us on our back foot, and even then crawled back into it and had a chance to tie. The errors in the details were not really on her. 

Maybe people do not like a Canadian coach demanding a possession game, control from the back, and insisting on it, which is the sign of really demanding something that has never been required from any Canadian women's team, ever. Doing that, if you have coached and know a bit, is very risky, but we actually handled it very well at times, we have players to play out of the back, defenders and DMs, that is a major accomplishment, and even more so for Canada. 

Now if folks want to argue she could be better, fine, but it is not like at this level we are seeing tactical genius, there are factors related to managing a group of 25 teenagers that have to be considered as well. 

What I suppose people would prefer is for us to just boot it up and chase it, that way you can avoid certain mistakes, is that it? So what is the vision you are offering? Okay, I have Robert on Ignore here, but really he is advocating sending Canada back to the shit pile of soccer style. And wants to crucify Rhiann for trying to get us out of it.

Edited by Unnamed Trialist

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I think you are overcomplicating it.  Loss == lousy coach who must be fired.  Obviously, we have the best players in the world, and not winning everything is proof that the coach is a moron and got it all wrong.  No second chances, no learning from experience, everyone is as good as they will ever be and must be banished at the first sign of failure.

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1 hour ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

What I suppose people would prefer is for us to just boot it up and chase it, that way you can avoid certain mistakes, is that it? So what is the vision you are offering? Okay, I have Robert on Ignore here, but really he is advocating sending Canada back to the shit pile of soccer style. And wants to crucify Rhiann for trying to get us out of it.

Yes ,we must harken back to those halcyon days of St Even and la Morace. 

One thing I have ascertained is that the CSA does test for mental competence.  Otherwise how can we explain Robert and Ref's decade long campaign of bitterness over not getting a CSA job.

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Halcyon days of St Even?  Sure he ran out of gas but he completely transformed the Canadian women's game and delivered some great results. 

Speaking of running out of gas and the thread title, I wonder if that wasn't part of the equation.

Rhian Wilkinson was a plumber as a player, a journeyman but in the best sense of the word. She had a soft start to her national career and wasn't one of the more talented players but as time went by she learned and adapted and played within her game and became more confident and effective. A good success story and I imagine she'd see herself similarly.

Coaching-wise, superstars rarely make good coaches. Sure you can come up with names of those who did, but it's usually the plumbers who become the good coaches. When I heard she was moving into coaching the first thought I had was she'd probably be a good fit.

You don't become a great coach overnight, it's a journey. And much like a Kara Lang or Jessie Fleming at 15, or those who can match those with 10,000 touches with just 2,000, some people can travel that journey much faster than others. Hope she can.

As a new coach (or really any management career) you often have good vision about what you want to do, strong drive, etc. I think that probably accounted for the first half of the tournament. But in a new career when the chips are all down it's not unusual or uncommon to get overwhelmed by it all as the weeks go by and lose that clarity. That goes for players too, especially at the young ages.  Hopefully they all grow (players and coach) and learn how tend to hold that focus and perspective or even grow it as long tournaments wear on.

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Regarding possession... not wanting to play possession-based attacking isn't wrong or evil. Norway play direct, if you are taking more than two touches or not playing forward on the break you're doing it wrong. And if not for two missed penalties in the final against Germany they would have won the last Euro before the Dutch win last year.

They are cognizant they are a country of four million people and their success speaks for itself. They have a plan and they execute well on it. That's the key point. Tactics aren't always pretty but success always is.

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3 hours ago, rkomar said:

I think you are overcomplicating it.  Loss == lousy coach who must be fired.  Obviously, we have the best players in the world, and not winning everything is proof that the coach is a moron and got it all wrong.  No second chances, no learning from experience, everyone is as good as they will ever be and must be banished at the first sign of failure.

Yes it’s the Darth Vader style of management. If a team fails, just force choke its leader and hire a new one.

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Statistically speaking Rhian Wilkinson's coaching record is:

Games played - 6

Won - 3

Lost - 3

Goals for - 7

Goals against - 8

In other words a .500 record. Not bad for a rookie coach, with no previous coaching experience. However, did Rhian have a world class team that could handle all types of formats and physical play? Hardly! At no time was Canada's Women's U-17 team able to overcome a deficit. How can a team that gets hit first and can't fight back to win a match be called "world class?" 

So why would Rhian come out and say such a silly thing right in the middle of a World Cup Final tournament? To me it seemed like an inexperienced and insecure individual, who just happened to get a fortuitous result, saying what she perceived as being the right thing to say at the right time, in order to bolster her own future. Others may think differently and that Rhian was right. Hey, no problem. Obviously, your opinion of "world class," and my mine differ. If you are right, just think of how far the U-17 team may have gone at this tournament if the CSA had hired someone who actually had some real coaching experience on their resume! 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Vic said:

Halcyon days of St Even?  Sure he ran out of gas but he completely transformed the Canadian women's game and delivered some great results.

That he did, but it wasn't sustainable as a permanent solution.  I was probably one of his staunchest defenders at the time, when people criticized his direct approach, which was based on statistics regarding chances at goal and such.  He worked with what he had, as he didn't have the upcoming depth like we do now.  I got it then, I get it now, but these CSA haters (and that's what they are because they've been posting the same crap for over a decade), keep spouting a narrative that a return to "the good old days" is what is warranted when we have a stumble.

I think Rhian has all the qualities needed in a coach, except one, experience.  I remember my first year teaching, thinking if I can get through this year, next year I'll have my lesson plans already prepared and I can concentrate on what the hell I'm doing.  I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt and will always condemn the lunacy of the CSA Legion of Doom who post their usual nonsense. I'm not including you Vic, just responding :)

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11 hours ago, Vic said:

Tactics aren't always pretty but success always is.

Totally agree with that and did during the Pellerud era.  But that plateaued as we realized we could not reach the next level and beat the top teams in the world with that approach. I always say, you have to do what's effective be it pretty or not.

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10 hours ago, Robert said:

Statistically speaking Rhian Wilkinson's coaching record is:

Games played - 6

Won - 3

Lost - 3

Goals for - 7

Goals against - 8

In other words a .500 record. Not bad for a rookie coach, with no previous coaching experience. However, did Rhian have a world class team that could handle all types of formats and physical play? Hardly! At no time was Canada's Women's U-17 team able to overcome a deficit. How can a team that gets hit first and can't fight back to win a match be called "world class?" 

So why would Rhian come out and say such a silly thing right in the middle of a World Cup Final tournament? To me it seemed like an inexperienced and insecure individual, who just happened to get a fortuitous result, saying what she perceived as being the right thing to say at the right time, in order to bolster her own future. Others may think differently and that Rhian was right. Hey, no problem. Obviously, your opinion of "world class," and my mine differ. If you are right, just think of how far the U-17 team may have gone at this tournament if the CSA had hired someone who actually had some real coaching experience on their resume! 

I'm going to regret engaging, but out of curiosity, how many teams at the U17 Women's level do you consider "World Class"? Is it 1? 2? 15? It's an incredibly ambiguous term so trying to retroactively give a definition to it and then holding people against your own personal definition isn't helpful. Apparently in Rhian's opinion beating a team like Germany constitutes being world class. According to you it seems to have something to do with having a slow start and overcoming that.

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4 hours ago, Kent said:

I'm going to regret engaging, but out of curiosity, how many teams at the U17 Women's level do you consider "World Class"? Is it 1? 2? 15? It's an incredibly ambiguous term so trying to retroactively give a definition to it and then holding people against your own personal definition isn't helpful. Apparently in Rhian's opinion beating a team like Germany constitutes being world class. According to you it seems to have something to do with having a slow start and overcoming that.

How many teams did I think were "World Class" in Uruguay? Hhhmmm. Let's see:

Spain - Korea Republic 4-0

Spain - Columbia 1-1

Spain - Canada 5-0

Spain - Korea DPR 1-1

Spain - New Zealand 2-0

Spain - Mexico 2-1

Record at the FIFA U-17 World Cup

Games played - 6

Won - 4

Draw - 2

Lost - 0

Goals for - 15

Goals against - 3

Given the fact that Spain never trailed in any of their six matches, I would have to say that for me "World Class" is not such an incredibly ambiguous term. Even though Spanish coach Maria Is never publicly said so, I would have to say that there was only one "World Class" team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup, and that was SPAIN. So now tell us, how many teams did you think were "World Class" Kent?

 

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20 hours ago, Vic said:

Regarding possession... not wanting to play possession-based attacking isn't wrong or evil. Norway play direct, if you are taking more than two touches or not playing forward on the break you're doing it wrong. And if not for two missed penalties in the final against Germany they would have won the last Euro before the Dutch win last year.

They are cognizant they are a country of four million people and their success speaks for itself. They have a plan and they execute well on it. That's the key point. Tactics aren't always pretty but success always is.

Well, success can be ugly too, I know because I am a fan of a club that has won leagues that fans were not thrilled about. And there are coaches that leave teams after successes because they did not find them pretty (Zidane most recently). But sure, that is a bit of a luxury in world football, because if you hardly ever win you take what you can get. So I prefer a team that plays nice football, long or short, and executes well, and can dominate an opponent, and do not think that winning justifies every type of play because I'd rather not to have to hold my nose during a win. 

Wilkinson clearly had a game plan, and it was a rarity, play out of the back. We are not skilled at this, in general, in Canada, so it is a huge step up, and hard to do, but hey--you have got to start somewhere. I have coached kids and only the top clubs you face, the very best, are willing to let them try this, and fail, and fail again (like that first NZ goal against us), until they get it right, because it can be worth it. You have the ball, you are in control, you are facing forwards, and you can build your attack in your terms. That sounds pretty good to me. The only real problem is that we had some pieces missing, overall, and lacked a bit more practice doing it, and maybe needed to play two dynamic DMs with ball skills to help us play that way through the middle, rather than see it get bogged down. But I give Wilkinson a lot of credit for trying, and the players for seeking to execute, which they did well--only that the key goal in semis and the first in third place match came from errors doing it. 

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25 minutes ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

Wilkinson clearly had a game plan, and it was a rarity, play out of the back. We are not skilled at this, in general, in Canada, so it is a huge step up, and hard to do, but hey--you have got to start somewhere. I have coached kids and only the top clubs you face, the very best, are willing to let them try this, and fail, and fail again (like that first NZ goal against us), until they get it right, because it can be worth it. You have the ball, you are in control, you are facing forwards, and you can build your attack in your terms. That sounds pretty good to me. The only real problem is that we had some pieces missing, overall, and lacked a bit more practice doing it, and maybe needed to play two dynamic DMs with ball skills to help us play that way through the middle, rather than see it get bogged down. But I give Wilkinson a lot of credit for trying, and the players for seeking to execute, which they did well--only that the key goal in semis and the first in third place match came from errors doing it. 

I'm gonna out on a limb here, but I don't think that a World Cup Final tournament is the best place to try and apply a game plan that your team is not skilled at. Like you said, that's a "hugh step up." Being a rookie coach, with no coaching experience, you just might be better off sticking with the game plan that your team is familiar with and which got them to the World Cup Final tournament in the first place. A World Cup Final tournament is not the right place to "hey--you have got to start somewhere." A World Cup Final is definitely not the place to start practicing new game plans. This was a rookie blunder that cost big time, if the Canadian U-17 team truly is "World Class." If they are indeed a "World Class" team as Rhian claims they are, then didn't the CSA do the team a grave injustice by not hiring a "World Class" coach, because obviously you do not find "World Class" coaches that are volunteer assistant coaches at the University of Tennessee.

Edited by Robert

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The youth tournaments are not primarily for determining who is the best in the world at that age group.  They are for training, evaluation and gaining experience.  The point is to produce stronger players for the senior teams.  Playing to win the tournament at the cost of producing better players and coaches is counterproductive.  Our players need to learn how to play the way the senior team plays.  Our coaches need to learn to coach the team to play the senior way.  They are all part of a single organization with the senior team at its pinnacle.  There's no point looking at pieces in isolation and wondering if they are "World Class".  You have to judge it all as a whole.

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2 hours ago, Robert said:

So now tell us, how many teams did you think were "World Class" Kent?

I don’t usually use the term, and I don’t get worked up when someone else uses it. It could mean “the best” to some, it could mean top 5, top 10, it could mean “has a realistic chance of winning it all” (I think this is probably your definition), it could mean “good enough to be a participant in the World Cup”. So yeah, I don’t give it much thought because there is no point since whatever I determine it to mean to me won’t be the same for everyone else.

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Spain was definitely a class above and they have written the book at the women's youth level in Europe for quite a while. 

Spain had never been in a World Cup before Canada or even a Euro medal game going back to 1979. But they are back again in France next year, so the results at the youth level has clearly paid dividends on the senior side.

In the women's game they have a dangerous combination of skill and intelligence. They didn't win a game in Canada and surely will get their first World Cup win next summer, and sooner rather than later will go on a run and lay down their marker.

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2 hours ago, Vic said:

Spain was definitely a class above and they have written the book at the women's youth level in Europe for quite a while. 

Spain had never been in a World Cup before Canada or even a Euro medal game going back to 1979. But they are back again in France next year, so the results at the youth level has clearly paid dividends on the senior side.

In the women's game they have a dangerous combination of skill and intelligence. They didn't win a game in Canada and surely will get their first World Cup win next summer, and sooner rather than later will go on a run and lay down their marker.

Thank you, Vic. I was beginning to think that I was the only one on this board who understood the meaning of "world-class."

The term really isn't as "incredibly ambiguous" as some make it out to be. According to the Oxford English Dictionary: world-class "of a quality or standard regarded as high throughout the world." (Is it not ironic, that alphabetically, in the OED, "world-class" is followed by "World Cup?) On the other hand, thinking highly of oneself is conceited and egotistical. Now before people start flipping out, I am in no way saying that Rhian Wilkinson is conceited and egotistical, because in her naivety she more than likely used it as an "incredibly ambiguous" term.

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