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Panama's twin coaches, June 27th, 2011 2:01AM



Panama, which reached the semifinals of the Gold Cup, is coached by Julio Dely Valdes. The Canaleros' U-17 squad, which is in the round of 16 of the U-17 World Cup, is coached by his twin brother, Jorge Dely Valdes.

"We have a unique relationship," explained Jorge. "Soccer has often come between us, but it always brings us back together again. We work together as coaches now. I'm part of the training staff and have been responsible for the U-20s and U-17s since those teams were introduced. We've both had more than 25 coaches during our careers ... so now we're passing on that experience to our players."

The 44-year-old Jorge, like Julio, enjoyed a successful playing career until 2005, scoring 13 goals in 34 internationals. He played in Japan and MLS for the Colorado Rapids. Julio netted 22 goals in 32 appearances for his country and had spells with Paris St. Germain (France), Malaga (Spain) and Cagliari (Italy) among others.

Tragically, the duo's elder brother Armando, who starred in Argentina and Uruguay, died after falling into a coma at age 40. The "Panamanian Pele" was one of the greatest players the country has ever produced and, following his death, the main stadium in Colon was renamed the Estadio Armando Dely Valdes in his honor.

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