March 23, 2023
Hall of Famer Carmelina Moscato is enjoying a Mexican soccer adventure with the Tigers

Hall of Famer Carmelina Moscato is enjoying a Mexican soccer adventure with the Tigers

Soccer Carmelina Moscato has been referred to jobs in Australia, Italy, Sweden, United States, Denmark and Mexico. Now the Canada Soccer Hall of Fame.

The former defenseman, who won 94 games for Canada between 2002 and 2015 as well as a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, joins 2000 Gold Cup hero Richard Hastings in the Class of 2023.

Moscato never expected Hall of Fame recognition, but is grateful.

“It’s great to be recognized for the Canadian aspect of my journey,” she said. “That’s pretty cool.”

Moscato’s soccer adventure continues in Monterrey, where she is the head coach of Tigres Femennil in the Mexican Women’s League. The Tigress Women’s team is currently in fifth place at 6-3-0.

“Mexico is a journey. It’s incredible. Nine months of life,” Moscato said with a laugh. “High, low and everything in between. It has been a very cool experience so far. “

Moscato is one of three female coaches in the 18-team league.

Since retiring as a player in 2016, the 38-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., has had more than a few experiences.

She has served as Canadian Soccer Youth Coach and Talent Manager for the Canadian REX Development Program, Director and Coach of Australia’s semi-pro Illawarra Stingrays, Technical Director of Kleinburg Nobleton (Ont.) Soccer Club, League 1 Ontario Women’s Commissioner’s Division, Bahamas Soccer Association Director of Women’s Football for and coach of FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark.

Moscato says that when it came to her post-playing CV, “life took over,” but she got a lot of help from John Herdman, the women’s team coach at the time and now head of the men’s program.

“As soon as I basically retired, he believed in me and mentored me at Canada Soccer, which built my, I guess, self-confidence and maybe coachability,” she said. “I started thinking ‘You know what? This could be the thing I sink my teeth into and see if I can actually pursue this career.'”

That took her to coaching gigs in Australia before returning to Toronto to be closer to family, “because I haven’t done that in 20 years.”

She worked as a technical director at the youth club level and in the front office of the Canadian soccer business with League 1 Women — “everything else soccer-related on the Canadian landscape.”

“Finally, I realized that my skills are better suited not in the boardroom, not in politics. Of course training on grass is where I feel I can be most successful and share my strengths.

Armed with an Italian passport thanks to her Sicilian-born parents, she had planned to stay in Europe after her contract in Denmark ended. Then the Mexico opportunity arose.

“Suddenly, I started hearing about Tigres Femenil – the club, the phenomenon of this club. program, ambition. It was really impressive what they had accomplished in such a short period of time, and I knew I had to at least listen to the opportunity and what it meant.

“Within 10 days, I left one opportunity for another. And it was a whirlwind. I started pre-season the very next day within 12 hours of landing. So I don’t know what to say. It was crazy. A quick, unexpected but pleasant surprise at Mexico’s soccer landscape.

So far, so good.

Tigres beat Club America 3-0 in November to win the Apertura 2022 final.

“It was a ton of lessons,” Moscato said. “I mean ups and downs. It was by no means a perfect season but we found a way to win and we got on the podium for the fifth time out of 10. It was a very special season. “

This season has brought new challenges.

“We’re learning some hard lessons,” she said. “For the first time in history, we lost three people on the road.

“I think I do my best when my back is against the wall. A slight disadvantage this season. A new story for the tigers. They have no habit of losing. I’m not used to losing with this team. So I’d say it’s reactions, learnings, reflections and how to put this very good group of players in their best light. That’s my job this season – to stay the course and stay on track.”

The league was started with the aim of giving local players a place to play after they outgrew the youth levels. Imports were not allowed in the beginning.

“It was a league by Mexicans for Mexicans,” Moscato explained. “And I thought it was really good to start that way. It started very modestly. “

Each men’s team was required to field a women’s squad. Some were more interested than others.

“Tigres was a club that really bought into the women’s project from the beginning and invested heavily in players and staff and infrastructure and we are now starting to see the benefits,” Moscato said. “We are in the fifth year. It looks really good. I’m really impressed with the development of the league – tactically, but also the quality of players it attracts is superb.

Mexican teams are now allowed up to four imports. At Tigres, they are Colombian midfielder Natalia Gaitan, South African midfielder/forward Noxolo Cesane and American wing Riley Parker and forward Mia Fishel.

Tigres sold Nigerian forward Uchenna Kanu to Racing Louisville FC of the NWSL last month.

Moscato is optimistic that Canada will soon join Mexico in fielding a women’s league, with former Canadian team player Diana Matheson at the helm.

Moscato, who grew up speaking English and Italian, is working on her Spanish.

“I basically understand 80 percent. I’m 80 to 90 percent super-good, especially if it’s a football context. I can connect with my players and get to the heart of the matter. But as far as speaking goes, I don’t expect to do a press conference in Spanish anytime soon, because things move so fast here.

“I understand, I think that’s part of the puzzle,” she added. “But I definitely need to work on my expression and speaking.

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