Canada names Zambrano as head coach

At his introduction as Canada's new head coach on March 17, 2017, Octavio Zambrano (middle) is flanked by Peter Montopli (left) and Victor Montaglianni (right), Canada Soccer's general secretary and president, respectively. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

OTTAWA – Canada Soccer announced Friday that Octavio Zambrano is the new head coach of the men’s program, overseeing all national teams from under-14 to the senior squad.

Zambrano has a wealth of experience as a player, technician, and coach. He has earned his UEFA A Diploma coaching award as well a United States Soccer Federation “A” coaching license.

“We are very excited to welcome Octavio to Canada Soccer after our extensive search for a new Head Coach to lead our program into the next cycle of FIFA World Cup™ Qualifiers,” said Canada Soccer President Victor Montagliani. “Canada deserves to have its men’s national team program perform on a consistent basis and Octavio’s experience within professional club and academy settings around the world will allow him to lead program alignment and solidify the second pillar of our Leading a Soccer Nation plan: consistent, world-class performances by our National Teams.”

Zambrano joins Canada Soccer after recently serving as head coach of Delfín Sporting Club in Ecuador's Serie A. He previously served as sporting director, head coach and technical director with CD El Nacional from 2014-16 in the same league.

“I would like to thank Canada Soccer for this incredible opportunity to lead the men’s national team program and align the strong and deep talent pool that exists from coast to coast,” said Zambrano. "My passion is the development of young athletes and I view football as part sport, part art, and part entertainment. I will look to portray all three through the tactics and player development within the men’s national team program.”

In Major League Soccer, Zambrano currently holds the second-highest winning percentage in league history with a 58.7% record in regular-season play. From June 1997-April 1999, he guided the LA Galaxy, taking it to Western Conference finals in 1997 and 1998, as well as the 1997 CONCACAF Champions' Cup championship match.

As head coach of the MetroStars from 2000-02, he took his team from last to first place in the Eastern Conference standings for the first time in the team’s history.

After coaching in Moldova and Hungary, Zambrano returned to the USA to serve as an assistant coach with the Kansas City Wizards in 2009. After the team transformed into Sporting Kansas City in 2011, Zambrano helped the club finish first in the Eastern Conference standings and advance to the Conference final for the first time in four years.

In 2012, Zambrano led Deportivo Pereira to a record season in Colombia's Categoría Primera B. The squad broke the record for the most points obtained in a single season by any Colombian professional team.

Zambrano replaces interim head coach Michael Findlay, who took over after Benito Floro’s contract was not renewed in September 2016.

Canada will play in July’s CONCACAF Gold Cup against Group A rivals Costa Rica, French Guiana and Honduras.