Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada to Face Former Coach Even Pellerud at China Women's Soccer Tournament

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada to Face Former Coach Even Pellerud at China Women's Soccer Tournament

Article excerpt

Canada to face old coach at China tournament

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When Canada plays Norway at the Four Nations women's soccer tournament in China next month, a familiar face will be standing in front of the opposition bench.

Former Canadian national team coach Even Pellerud is back at the Norway helm, as of Jan. 1.

"I told my daughters the other day I will be playing against a team whose players I know much better than my own (Norwegian) players," he said.

The other teams at the Jan. 10-17 Four Nations are host China and host South Korea.

Norwegian football officials had been talking to Pellerud about another position like technical director, but things changed after a staff reorganization. When coach Elsi Landsem left in mid-October, the talks switched to returning to the sidelines.

Pellerud's contact runs through the 2016 Olympics.

Norway has had mixed results in recent years, failing to qualify for the London Olympics and exiting after the first round of the 2011 Women's World Cup. Norway is currently ranked 12th in the world, to Canada's seventh.

"Norway used to be top-ranked and there has been a slide down ever since ... There is a desire to come back -- inside the women's program, in the Norwegian Football Federation," said Pellerud. "I know we are all behind that desire.

"This makes it exciting for me to go back to my old position."

Pellerud, 59, has set himself some tough standards to meet, from his first stint as Norway coach from 1989 to 1996. Under his guidance, the Norwegian women won the 1993 European championship, the 1995 World Cup and a bronze medal at the '96 Olympics.

He will have a busy 2013, with Norway already qualified for the European Women's Championship in Sweden. The Norwegian women open play in July in a group with defending champion Germany, Iceland and the Netherlands.

Pellerud stepped down as Canada coach after leading the team to the quarter-finals of the 2008 Olympics. He took the Canadians to ninth in the world rankings, led them to the Olympics for the first time and a fourth-place finish in he 2003 World Cup. …

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