If you've been following the plight of Canadian soccer before, during and/or after the 8-1 debacle in Honduras that unceremoniously dumped Les Rouges out of FIFA World Cup qualifying, you've probably run across the words, written or spoken, of Jason deVos.
Known primarily in the Vancouver market for being the colour commentator alongside Luke Wileman for TSN's Major League Soccer coverage, deVos has a rich history in the beautiful game; stops at Montreal Impact, Darlington, Dundee United and Wigan Athletic from 1993 to 2004 eventually led to a stay at Ipswich Town from 2004 to 2008 - a stay that would end with his status being cemented as a club legend with 171 appearances and 10 goals. DeVos even had the honour of wearing the captain's armband for the Tractor Boys from 2006 onward. In addition to 15+ years in club football, deVos made 49 appearances for Canada, scoring four goals including the winning goal in the final of the 2000 Gold Cup.
It's safe to say, then, that deVos has a fairly good handle on the game at all levels. It's little surprise, then, that deVos announced on Sunday his acceptance into a course for the highest coaching badge in UEFA:
Received some great news this week: I've been offered a place on the @OfficialIrishFA UEFA Pro Licence, which starts in May. Can't wait!— Jason deVos (@jasondevos) January 11, 2015
If you're a fan of Canadian soccer, consider this putting one's money where one's mouth is. DeVos has been increasingly critical of the state of youth development in the Canadian soccer ranks over the years, primarily focusing on woefully inadequate coaching - I recall his appearance on an MLS podcast where he made the comparison of sending out a hockey coach who didn't know how to skate. Of course we wouldn't do that, he argued, so why are we sending out soccer coaches who don't know the first thing about the game?
What will be interesting to see is if deVos uses this as a springboard to leave the comfy confines of the TSN broadcast booth to take up a role either with the Canadian Soccer Association or a professional club. Goodness knows there are clubs out there that could use an intelligent, experienced player managing from the sidelines (cough, cough); goodness knows the CSA could use his vision. Somewhat selfishly, though, I hope he stays in his role as a broadcaster and pundit. The Wileman/deVos combo has emerged as my favourite tandem for the MLS-era 'Caps and hearing deVos spout off on TSN FC podcasts is about as raw and honest an opinion as you'll get, with the added bonus of being steeped in credible experience. Well, maybe "credible" is going a bit too far...
@jasondevos Congrats! Y'know, I heard somebody say top-tier coaches are what CAN needs to improve in soccer. Smart gent, that...— Rituro (@ThatRituroGuy) January 11, 2015
@ThatRituroGuy Haha! Not sure that guy knows what he’s talking about sometimes… ;)— Jason deVos (@jasondevos) January 11, 2015