Frank hopes to take Canada all the way

By David VincentIt is one of those quiz questions that will put football fans on the spot. Which English league club provided three international managers? The answer, of course, is Ipswich Town.

By David Vincent

It is one of those quiz questions that will put football fans on the spot. Which English league club provided three international managers? The answer, of course, is Ipswich Town. Sir Bobby Robson and the late Sir Alf Ramsey are legends in the game.

Now former Ipswich captain Frank Yallop is stepping on to the international stage aiming to take his country to the 2006 World Cup finals.

He took over as head coach of Canada on January 1, initially with a contract through to the end of 2006.

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Yallop was born in Watford but grew up in Canada, where his parents still live. He played for his country many times and often wore the captain's armband.

But with the standard of the game across the world rising all the time he knows he has a big task ahead.

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He said: "Our aim has got to be getting to the World Cup.

"I've a three-year contract, to start with, and my aim is try to keep us improving, moving in the right direction and really challenging the opposition in the games we play.

"We haven't played any competitive games yet but we should be OK.

"We have quite a lot of pros playing at different levels and a lot of talent.

"The training camp is going well and we have some good players including those coming through from the successful under-20 side like Ian Hume and Atiba Hutchinson.

"While I am here I am trying to see as many of them playing in club games as possible but it is not easy. I saw Hume play for Tranmere on Saturday, and Tomasz Radzinski of Everton on Sunday.

"There is always a game somewhere but getting across to Europe may be a bit more difficult.

"I've got the Ipswich players reunion this Friday, then on Saturday I will take in a game where one of these lads is playing. And on Sunday I will be at the Ipswich v West Bromwich Albion game."

Yallop has been recruited from the North American MLS where he has had tremendous success as coach of the San Jose Earthquakes.

He turned them from a struggling side to winners of the MLS championship in 2001 and was named MLS coach of the year.

Yallop had his first national squad get-together in Fort Lauderdale in January for US-based players.

And this week he has a training camp in Manchester for European-based players including the likes of Lars Hirschfeld, the Spurs goalkeeper, Paul Peschisolido of Derby, Jason deVos of Wigan and Jim Brennan of Norwich City.

It is part of the build-up for Canada's first World Cup qualifying game against Belize on June 13.

Yallop joined Ipswich as a schoolboy and went on to play 376 first-team games, scoring nine goals.

After England he moved to play in the USA for Tampa Bay Mutiny before moving in to coaching with Tampa Bay and then DC United before getting the head coach job at San Jose.

It is an exciting time for the Yallop family.

Frank's, wife Karen, a former Co-op Juniors dancer and dance teacher, and their sons Jack, five, and Samuel, five months are moving to Vancouver where they are having a house built and he is renewing friendships from his youth.

He added: "I've got an enormous amount of travelling to do but it is nice to be able to put our roots down in Vancouver, we like it there.

"We had three years at San Jose which was good and I am looking forward to settling down," Yallop continued.

Since he was appointed he has been in the USA and is now in Europe and in between he was scouting at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico last month.

After his first training camp in January his squad won a friendly against Barbados 1-0 in Bridgetown.

Many of his squad players are with MLS teams, including striker Dwayne de Rosario at his former club San Jose Earthquakes while other choices play in Europe including Patrice Bernier with Norwegian side Moss FK, others in Sweden and more in the English and Scottish Leagues.

His next date in Britain is May 30 when his side takes on Wales in a friendly at Wrexham, then it is back to the USA to play former club San Jose Earthquakes on June 5 in another friendly.

And in June it is off to Belize, the former British colony in Central America, where they have Olympic qualifying games on June 13 and 16.

The winners over those two games will go into a mini qualifying tournament, probably with Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatamala.

"It won't be easy," said Yallop, "but I hope to be there."

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