Ex-Town star is Canada's most wanted

FORMER Ipswich star Frank Yallop is a firm favourite to become the new manager of Canada.But Yallop is not even among the 50 applicants keen to step into the role recently vacated by German coach Holger Osieck, who had five years in charge.

By Mel Henderson

FORMER Ipswich star Frank Yallop is a firm favourite to become the new manager of Canada.

But Yallop is not even among the 50 applicants keen to step into the role recently vacated by German coach Holger Osieck, who had five years in charge.

Yallop, who was capped 52 times, is too busy trying to clinch a second MLS Cup for his club side, San Jose Earthquakes.

But he admitted: "I would be interested. I know there has been interest in me from Canada, but right now I am not interested in talking about it. The time is not right."

Watford-born Yallop – he emigrated with his parents when he was a youngster – returned to England to join the Portman Road staff when he was 16.

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He won England youth honours and went on to make a total of 384 first team appearances before departing in 1996.

He was assistant coach at both Tampa Bay Rowdies and Washington DC United before taking charge at San Jose, where he has been a huge success.

They were regarded as the league's worst team when he moved there, but won the title in 2001, in his first season in charge, and he was named Coach of the Year.

Now Yallop, 39, is close to repeating the feat after his side made an incredible recovery to reach the Western Conference Final.

They lost 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final clash to Los Angeles Galaxy, who then netted twice in the first 13 minutes of Sunday's return game.

But they launched a remarkable comeback eight minutes later and eventually levelled the aggregate score at 4-4 in the final seconds of normal time through substitute Chris Roner, who had only come off the bench a minute earlier.

Then the Quakes sent their fans wild with delight when they netted a winner just six minutes into extra time, striker Rodrigo Faria scoring his first goal for the club.

Now Yallop leads his team into Saturday's Western Conference Final against Kansas City Wizards, hoping to clinch a place in the MLS Final eight days later.

Only when the Quakes' campaign is finally over will he stop to consider his future and decide whether to continue with San Jose, where he has triggered a remarkable turnaround.

It seems the Canadian Soccer Association, by announcing they will fill the vacancy by mid-December, are only too happy to wait for Yallop to make up his mind.

If Yallop chooses to lead his country it will represent a remarkable Ipswich double, since another ex-Town player in Bruce Twamley looks after the Olympic (Under-23) squad.

Twamley recently announced a 20-man squad for the home and away qualifying series against El Salvador on November 15 and 19.

He is currently with his players – Bury's Terry Dunfield is the only one based in England – at a training camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and will depart for El Salvador on Thursday.

Victory for Canada will see them advance to the qualifying tournament involving two groups of four teams in Mexico next February, with the winners of each group automatically qualifying for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

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