PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad -- Leo Beenhakker, who guided Trinidad & Tobago to its only World Cup appearance in 2006, has been named the Soca Warriors' director of football, and former Canada national coach Stephen Hart has been hired as national team coach, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association announced on Tuesday.
Hart agreed to a two-year contract, while Beenhakker is finalizing his pact. It will be more than two months and will last beyond the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the association said.
"I have made it a point from the moment of my election as the president of this organization six months ago, to take this organization into a new direction to enable the public to fall in love with football once again," TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee said. "Enlisting the expertise of both Mr. Beenhakker and Mr. Hart marks a highpoint that will yield substantial long-term benefits for T&T football."
Beenhakker, who coached Real Madrid and the Netherlands, returns to the Caribbean side with a wealth of experience and goodwill because the Soca Warriors reached their first and only World Cup with the Dutch native in charge of the national team. He is expected to arrive in T&T the final week of this month.
The 70-year-old will be charged to help shape the brand of TTFA national team programs, mentor and advise T&T national team coaches, and provide a long-term structure in the way TTFA national teams operate. Beenhakker also will observe the T&T CONCACAF Gold Cup pool at a training camp, plus accompany the team to the U.S. as part of its delegation.
"The approach taken by the TTFA establishes a long-term and substantive strategy that will positively impact the structure of the national programs while at the same time establishes an excellent head coach in Mr. Hart for some time to come," Beenhakker said.
Hart, a native of San Fernando, Trinidad, began his playing career in T&T and built his post-playing career in Canada through the Canadian Soccer Association within its coaching and development ranks.
The 53-year-old guided Canada to a 20-10-15 record during his three-year tenure and is expected to arrive in Trinidad prior to the June 23 training report date. Hart said he would like to retain former head coach Hutson Charles, as well as several other current staff members, and will meet with the former technical staff upon his arrival.
"I would like to make the transition as smooth as possible especially this close to the Gold Cup," Hart said. "I've had the opportunity to speak with Hutson and we are of the same accord in our approach to how the upcoming training camp will be organized."