National soccer coaches to run London clinics
By KATHY RUMLESKI -- London Free Press
It's amazing what people will do if you just ask them. National soccer team coaches Holger Osiek and Even Pellerud will be in London next month to run a couple of clinics on behalf of London United. Organizers didn't have to go through hoops to get the men here. In fact, they don't even have to pay them. (Although travel expenses will be covered.) It was a matter of simply asking. London United director Mike Van Bussel said Pellerud, women's national team coach, was approached at an international coaching clinic in Vaughan in November about coming here. "He expressed an interest. It's a pleasant surprise. We're really excited at the club," Van Bussel said. "We're trend-setting." Pellerud said from Toronto yesterday people don't often pursue him because they are either intimidated or believe he is too busy. He is busy. Last night he left for Europe to prepare for women's matches in France. But the date for the London clinic worked for him so he'll be here April 21. "Sometimes people have the initiative to ask me and come up with a proposal. Then I can decide if it fits into my plans." Osiek, the men's top coach, will be in London April 13. Of course, Pellerud will work with females and Osiek will instruct males. Each day will involve a coach's clinic, a technical session with players and an exhibition game to showcase local talent. There is something in it for the high-profile coaches -- they'll get a chance to do some scouting. "I have received information about the women's program in London. I thought it was a good idea to come and see myself," said Pellerud, who coached the Norwegian national women's team from 1991 to 1996, during which he propelled them to the top of women's soccer. Pellerud said the clinic is also for motivational purposes. "It's as important for them, for the younger players, to know that they have a system in place and it is possible to be seen." Pellerud said he's heard there are a lot of good younger female players here that he wants to see first-hand. But he is also willing to look at older players. "I'm pretty open-minded." Pellerud, who also is in charge of women's soccer for the Canadian Soccer Association, said he's happy at the helm of the national team. "I enjoy working with this team. We see a lot of committed players and coaches." But it's crunch time. The squad will play three international games against France, Japan and Australia in the near future. "Everything is leading up to the World Cup qualifications . . . this fall," he said. "This is a crucial year for us." Canada will participate in the women's Gold Cup with the top two teams earning berths to the 2003 World Cup in China. Pellerud's contract carries through to the World Cup. He said he's feeling optimistic about Canada's chances of getting there. "We see progress from month to month." Right now local soccer players and coaches are lucky Pellerud has some time to come to London before everything becomes focused on World Cup qualifying. They are lucky London United personnel thought to ask him. Van Bussel said any coaches interested in participating in the clinics should call 661-0380.