The new Spanish men’s hockey coach will be, from the end of the Tokyo Olympics, the Argentine Max Caldas, as reported by Diari de Terrassa on Thursday. The Spanish Hockey Federation has reached a full agreement with the Dutch coach so far and made it public this Friday. After announcing that the Frenchman Fred Soyez will not continue as a men’s coach after seven years in office, he has been chosen as a substitute for one of the most highly qualified and prestigious coaches on the international scene.
Maximiliano Jorge Caldas , who turned 48 on May 9, will become the first Argentine coach in the history of Spanish hockey from September. He will replace a Fred Soyez who has not yet achieved the sporting successes the Federation had hoped for. Caldas’ name will be added to those of Barcelona’s Salva Indurain, Dani Martín from Egara, the Dutchman Maurits Hendriks (who won the last Olympic medal for Spain, the silver at the 2008 Beijing Games) and Toni Forrellat from Terrassa ( silver in Atlanta 1996).
Twenty years in the Netherlands
Born in the city of San Isidro, in the province of Buenos Aires, Max Caldas trained at the Ciudad club in the Argentine capital and became an international. He competed in two Olympic Games. His first team where he played in the Netherlands was Klein Zwitserland. Those who saw him play highlighted his ability to hit and the passion he put into every game. Beyond the physical aspect, however, he stood out for his tactical ability and the way he understood the game.
These two characteristics led him to become one of the most feared and respected coaches in the world. He has spent the last two decades in the Netherlands, where after demonstrating his enormous ability to manage groups and teams (he coached the men’s Leiden Heren and the women’s Amsterdam), in 2006 he began a long career as a coach. He became an assistant to former Spanish women’s coach Marc Lammers in the women’s team. There its legend began to forge itself. After winning it all with the girls, in 2014 he was named male coach. That year he had just won the Women’s World Cup in The Hague with the Dutch team and was named coach of the year by the International Federation.
Already as the men’s coach of the Dutch, Caldas won the European Championship of 2015. At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games he led the Netherlands to the semifinals, but had to settle for fourth place.
Although the Argentines have Max Caldas permanently on the agenda to take charge of one of their two absolute selections, the Buenos Aires coach has decided to accept the challenge of bringing to fruition the transition that the Spanish men’s team will experience. after the Tokyo Olympics.
If with the signing of Maurits Hendriks, the Spanish men’s team took a very important step forward in every way, federal officials see Max Caldas, a coach who drinks from the same hockey culture as Hendriks, the right person to return to place the Spanish team on the podium of the main international hockey competitions.
From Buenos Aires to Amsterdam
He has lived in the Netherlands for 20 years and is linked to the Dutch Hockey Federation for 15 years. The origins of Max Caldas are in San Isidro, a city of more than 300,000 inhabitants located in the northern part of Greater Buenos Aires. At the age of 7 he took a hockey stick for the first time at his parents’ club, Ciudad. There they called Maco to him, name that changed to Max when in the year 2000 arrived at its country of adoption. Despite not being a star as a player, he was Olympic in Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004 playing as a defender.
Under Marcelo Garraffo he shared the selection with Pablo and Jorge Lombi and with Sergio Vigil. He soon realized that his path was that of a coach. Apart from coaching teams of the level of the women’s Amsterdam or the men’s Bloemendaal, Caldas won everything as a coach of the Dutch team: Olympic Games, World Cup, European, Champions Trophy and World League. He made his debut in 2006 as an assistant to Marc Lammers. His success led him to lead the men’s team since 2014, which has won two consecutive world runners-up. In 2014 he lost the final to Australia and in 2018 to Belgium.