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The former Portuguese international steps up from Canadian men's national team assistant coach.

The Canadian Soccer Association announced Tuesday that is has hired former national team assistant coach Tony Fonseca as its Technical Director.

"Having spent my whole life in the sport of soccer as a player, coach and administrator, becoming the Canadian Soccer Association's Technical Director provides me with an incredible opportunity to apply this experience to further grow and develop the sport in this country," Fonseca said in a statement.

A former Portuguese international, Fonseca ended his playing career with the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2000. He stayed with the club in a management role, first serving as an assistant before assuming the reigns as head coach in 2002. Two years later, he took on the role of the Whitecaps' technical director.

Fonseca progressed to the national team level in 2007, when he served as assistant to then-interim head coach Stephen Hart for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He has since added the head coaching duties of the national U-20 and U-23 teams to his resumé, while remaining as assistant for the full national side.

“The Canadian Soccer Association is excited to have an individual with the experience, knowledge and respect in domestic and international soccer take on this crucial portfolio with the organization,” said CSA General Secretary Peter Montopoli. "We look forward to having him lead the development of our sport based on his long standing commitment to Canadian soccer.”

The CSA's Technical Director position had been vacant since Hart left the role in order to assume full-time responsibilities as head coach of the men's national team in 2009. Upon Fonseca's appointment on Tuesday, the 47-year-old said his job is now about figuring out how to unlock the full potential of a Canadian soccer scene that thrives at the grassroots level but struggles to achieve international success.

"My priority will be to maximize the largest participation sport base in Canada by identifying current strengths as well as gaps and collaborating with the expanding network of soccer organizations in this country to create and enhance programs to ensure we are a successful soccer nation," Fonseca said.

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