Paul James has been one of the most decorated coaches and players in Canadian soccer history, and had a very successful collegiate coaching career here in the United States.
The Canadian Press has announced that James has officially stepped down from coaching, and that he is no longer willing to pay the price that success on the sidelines demands.
"After 20 years of coaching, I've just come to the decision that I want to just move away from that career. In a way, I've lost a little bit of the passion for it," he said in an interview Wednesday. "I actually think, in part, the coaching career path I took has definitely been challenging and I think over time, in my experience, it can wear you down a little bit.
"In Canada I've found the only way to be successful, if you coach at a significant level . . . you really, really do have to be fanatical about it - fanatical in recruiting, fanatical with your tactics, and always having your eye on the ball. It doesn't mean that it would be the same for other people but for me personally I think over time it's wore me down and I'm just at this point to be happy to look to move in a different direction.
"I just didn't want to be a lifelong soccer coach. . . . I thoroughly enjoyed the past six years at York, it's been a great experience. But I feel if I wait any longer to move on from coaching then I feel like I'd be pigeonholed in that career the rest of my life."
Tracy David, head women's coach at the University of Victoria, understands where James is coming from.
"I think that most people across this country don't understand the demands of coaching - and particularly at the very elite levels," she said.
James is no ordinary coach. He has an MBA from the University of Liverpool, which is renowned for its "football industries" postgraduate program. A thoughtful observer of the game, he writes a column for The Globe and Mail and has served as an analyst for both The Score and GolTV.
He said he will miss the intensity and passion of putting together a team and a game plan.
"The enjoyment of leading group of individuals to achieve a specific goal, whether it be one game or whether it be a full season. . . . It's an amazing experience."Paul contributed a lot to the game in both Canada and the US, and I wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors.