Valour FC fires head coach and GM Rob Gale, citing recent run of poor results

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WINNIPEG — Valour FC has fired head coach and GM Rob Gale, replacing him with former Vancouver Whitecaps assistant Phillip Dos Santos.

The Winnipeg club stands fifth in the eight-team Canadian Premier League with a 7-9-2 record. It is three points out of the fourth and final playoff position with 10 matches remaining.

The club is winless in its last four league games (0-3-1) and has won just one of its last 11 outings (1-8-2) after a 6-1-0 start that saw CPL teams play in a bubble out of Winnipeg before returning to home markets. It was also knocked out of the Canadian Championship in a 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Forge FC on Sept. 15.

“This morning Rob Gale was informed of the decision that we would not be renewing his contract heading into 2022 as Valour’s GM and head coach,” Wade Miller, Valour's president and CEO, said in a statement. “I want to thank Rob for all his work in our organization, for laying a strong foundation for the club, and for his best efforts in coaching the club. This is a results-driven business and those results have fallen short of our expectations.”

Dos Santos and his brother, head coach Marc Dos Santos, were fired by the Whitecaps on Aug. 27. The axing came after the Whitecaps, then 5-7-8, were upset 4-3 by Pacific FC in the Canadian Championship preliminary round.

Born in Montreal and raised in Portugal, Dos Santos played professional soccer in Portugal and Mozambique.

“We have a good group players in our locker-room and I have no doubt that Phillip will work to improve our results to make Valour fans proud in the years ahead,” said Miller. “Phillip has vast experience coaching at the professional level. We are excited to have him join the Valour FC family and work with our talented players and assistant coaches.”

Miller said assistant coach and GM Damian Rocke and goalkeeping coach Patrick Di Stefani will remain in their roles.

Valour visits York United FC on Sunday.

The Winnipeg side finished sixth in the seven-team CPL in its inaugural 2019 season with an 8-16-4 record. It was sixth at 2-3-2 in the first stage of the 2020 Island Games, failing to advance to the next stage,

Gale was Valour's first head coach and GM. He previously coached the Canadian under-17, under-18 and under-20 national teams and served as technical director for the Manitoba Soccer Association.

Born in Zambia to English parents, Gale moved to Winnipeg from England in 2001. He comes from a coaching family, with five members of his family having UEFA coaching licences.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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