Hart begins new era as full national coach

Canada's Stephen Hart officially begins his campaign as the men's national coach this Sunday 31 January. Hart will lead Canada in an international friendly match against Jamaica at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica. Hart, who previously served as an assistant coach and twice before as the "interim head coach", is now fully in charge as Canada begins preparations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.

While Hart is just at the beginning of what will be the long road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Brazil 2014, he already has the attention of a nation. On Friday, he was mentioned amongst those "poised to make an impact on the country's sporting scene in 2010" as part of The Globe & Mail's Power50.

“The Canadian Soccer Association congratulates Stephen Hart on being named as one of the 50 most influential figures on the Canadian sporting scene for 2010,” said Canadian Soccer Association General Secretary Peter Montopoli. “We are pleased that his potential impact on the sport in this country has been recognized by this national media outlet.”

In his two stints at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, he posted five wins, one draw and three losses, helping Canada reach the semi-final stage in 2007 and the quarter-final stage in 2009. His all-time record is nine wins, two draws and seven losses in 18 matches.

Hart's squad for this particular friendly match has been training together in Ft. Lauderdale, FL since 18 January. The team arrived in Kingston, Jamaica on Friday 29 January. Hart has invited several young players to this camp to familiarize them with his tactics and the surroundings of the men's national team.

Hart acknowledges that until FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers begin in 2012, he will use every opportunity to give his players international experience. Amongst the future international friendly matches that are being negotiated with other nations for the 2010 season, Hart already knows that he will have two home games in the fall with venues and opponents for these matches to be announced at a later date.

Hart was born in San Fernando, TRI and he has been living in Canada since 1980 when he first attended St. Mary's University in Halifax. At the provincial level, he was a coach and technical director of Soccer Nova Scotia. He made his national debut as an assistant coach at the 2001 CONCACAF U-17 Qualification Tournament. He then served as head coach at three CONCACAF U-17 tournaments, an assistant coach at the FIFA World Youth Championship UAE 2003 (when Canada reached the quarter-final stage), assistant coach with the national team at the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and then interim head coach of the national team at the 2007 and 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cups.