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Former Canadian captain Paul Stalteri joins York 9 FC as assistant coach

TORONTO — York 9 FC will have two Canada Soccer Hall of Famers on its sideline this season. Former Canadian captain Paul Stalteri has joined the Canadian Premier League team as Jimmy Brennan's first assistant coach.
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TORONTO — York 9 FC will have two Canada Soccer Hall of Famers on its sideline this season.

Former Canadian captain Paul Stalteri has joined the Canadian Premier League team as Jimmy Brennan's first assistant coach. The 42-year-old Stalteri joins the north Toronto franchise from the Canada Soccer Association, where he was a staff coach.

Stalteri, who once held the Canadian men's record for caps with 84, played for Canada from 1997 to 2010. Brennan's 49-cap career stretched from 1999 to 2008.

Their bond runs deep.

"I've known Jimmy for a long, long time," said Stalteri. "When you think about it, close to three decades.

"We've kept in touch throughout the years. When he started with the club (York 9), it just wasn't the right time at that time for myself (to join), being involved more with Canada Soccer and things just didn't work.

"There was an opportunity in the last few weeks to really sit down and do something on a more serious note. We were able to come to an agreement. There was always interest from both sides. It's a great opportunity, I think, for myself, the club — trying to move this club forward, to the top of table, which is what we're trying to do."

York finished at 9-12-7 last season.

Stalteri, a striker-turned-fullback who started his playing career with the Toronto Lynx, retired in 2013. That year he started coaching with Canada Soccer and has worked from the under-15 level all the way up the senior men's side.

The move to York allows Stalteri to coach his players on a daily basis. But he leaves Canada Soccer with good memories.

"It was a great time and a great opportunity ... But things change," he said.

"This is a great opportunity and it allows me now to get into an everyday atmosphere at the professional level and really get back into the everyday grind of football."

Stalteri was a trailblazer, the first Canadian to score in Germany's Bundesliga. The goal came in his August 2000 debut Werder Bremen in a game against Energie Cottbus that saw Stalteri and Kevin McKenna, playing for Cottbus, become the first Canadians to play in Germany's top tier.

Stalteri spent most of his playing career in Germany, with Bremen and Borussia Moenchengladbach, and England, with Tottenham and Fulham.

Brennan, 42, said he had wanted to bring Stalteri on board since Day 1 "but he was with the national team at the time so we've had to be patient."

"I am pleased that we've been able to get him on board now. He's a professional who has played at the highest level and it's a great opportunity for the players here to be able to utilize his vast knowledge."

Julian de Guzman, now retired, holds the men's Canadian cap record at 89.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 4, 2020.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press