York United looks to former Atlas FC coach Benjamin Mora to lead the team to success | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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York United looks to former Atlas FC coach Benjamin Mora to lead the team to success

York United's new coach Benjamin Mora, of Mexico, is seen in Toronto in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-York United, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

TORONTO - York United FC unveiled Benjamin Mora as its new head coach Tuesday, hoping his experience in the Mexican top flight and success in Malaysia will help lead the Toronto-based Canadian Premier League club up the standings.

The 44-year-old Mexican inherits a team fifth in the eight-team CPL standings at 3-4-1.

He succeeds former Canadian international Martin Nash, who was fired May 21 with the club sitting fifth at 2-3-1.

Mauro Eustaquio, who served as interim coach, and the other assistant coaches are staying on.

Mora most recently was head coach of Mexico's Atlas FC, taking over the Guadalajara-based team in October 2022 after winning a title in Malaysia with Johor Darul Ta'zim FC.

He was fired by Atlas on Oct. 31 after a 2-0 loss at Xolos de Tijuana, the club's fourth defeat in its previous five games (0-4-1). Atlas was 13th in the standings at the time.

"I was not expecting to hear from Canada," Mora acknowledged, speaking in English of job opportunities.

But York is now under Mexican ownership, purchased by the Game Plan Sports Group led by brothers Ricardo, Eduardo and Miguel Pasquel. The consortium bought the team in November from Canadian Soccer Business, whose investors are the CPL team owners.

CSB bought the franchise back in April 2023 from the Baldassarra family, which was part of the original ownership group before becoming sole owner in 2021.

York has struggled to make an impression on and off the field, finishing fifth, sixth and sixth the last three seasons.

Ricardo Pasquel, York's president and general manager, and Mora look to change that.

Mora said he favours a possession-based game with his teams attacking via the press to get the ball back.

"I want my team to control the game," he said. "We are going to work very hard to make that possible in every game we play."

Mora said his goal is to win trophies but noted York was "a project."

"It takes time," he said. "I think it is going to be fast. Normally in my past, teams that I've coached, it hasn't been too long until the team starts to play the way I want."

The work starts Sunday against visiting Vancouver FC (4-3-1).

Having found his coach, Pasquel said he is happy with his roster.

"I've said this since Day 1, and I truly believe it, that we have the best roster in the league. I think it's up to us now, to Benjamin and Jorge (York's technical/sporting directorJorge Villalpando) to identify those strengths of players and maximize them."

Mora was in attendance on the weekend to see York beaten 3-0 at Forge FC. But he says he too likes the roster.

"We are rich in talent but we need to make a team that works like men … all running, all doing their job, putting their service for the team not individually," he said. "And when we do that, I think we're going to be on the path of a winning team."

Mora becomes the third head coach in York history, following Nash and Jim Brennan.

Mora began his coaching career with Tijuana in 2011 before serving as an assistant coach with Mexico's Querétaro Fútbol Club, Atlante and Club de Fútbol Cafetaleros de Chiapas.

He moved to Malaysia to become coach of Johor Darul Ta'zim's reserve team in December 2015, taking over the first team two years later.

Between 2017 and 2022, Mora coached the team to nine titles: four Malaysian Super Leagues, four Malaysian Super Cups and one Malaysia Cup.

In his final season in Malysia, Mora guided JDT to the knockout stage of Asian Champions League for the first time ever.

"I can assure you that the first interview that we did with (Benjamin), we knew exactly that he was our guy," said Pasquel.

Nash's record as coach was 25-13-29 since taking over in December 2021.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2024 .

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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