Albert Roca has been appointed as the new head coach of the El Salvador national team. Roca — a native of Spain — replaces Agustin Castillo, whose contract was not renewed after it expired in December.
“It is my pleasure to lead this project today,” said Roca, a former assistant coach with FC Barcelona (2003-08), Galatasaray (2008-11) 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.”
Albert Roca will be joned by his right hand man Carles Cuadrat, also a former FC Barcelona youth coach and assistant at Galatasaray and Saudi Arabia under Frank Rijkaard.
The first order of business for Roca and his team 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.
“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.
El Salvador has not participated in the World Cup since 1982, but it has advanced to the quarter-finals of the last two Gold Cups.
© 2014 Boxscore | This article first appeared on boxscore.com on 14 May 2014.