Albert Roca, pictured above while on the coaching staff at Galatasary in Turkey, was officially presented as El Salvador's head coach on May 12, 2014. (Photo: www.albertroca.com)
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador -- The Salvadoran Football Federation (FESFUT) officially presented Albert Roca as the new head coach of its men’s national team at a press conference on Monday.
Roca -- a native of Spain -- replaces Agustin Castillo, whose contract was not renewed after it expired in December.
"Hopefully, this is a project of results in the medium and long term, as well as the short term, since Salvadorans are demanding,” said FESFUT President Carlos Mendez. “We also ask you to let the coaching staff do their work.”
Mendez made it clear that the contract with Roca was agreed upon with a nod towards the 2018 FIFA World Cup, plus strengthening the youth program, raising the standard of coaching education and improving overall infrastructure.
"It is my pleasure to lead this project today,” said Roca, an assistant coach with Spain’s Barcelona (2003-08) and, most recently, Saudi Arabia (2011-13). “My goals are to improve the competitive level of football in this country and restore pride to the fans.
"El Salvador has youth who are doing a great job, like at the U-20 World Cup in Turkey, including some technicians who are offering a lot such as coach Mauricio Alfaro.”
The first order of business for Roca will be to prepare El Salvador for friendlies against Ivory Coast (June 4 in Frisco, Texas, USA) and Spain (June 7 in Landover, Maryland, USA). Afterwards, the 51-year-old will look ahead to the UNCAF Copa Centroamericana later in the year as the Cuscatlecos attempt to qualify for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
El Salvador has not participated in the World Cup since 1982, but it has advanced to the quarterfinals of the last two Gold Cups.