The Canadian men's soccer team is getting ready for a pair of January friendlies and a camp but are still officially without a head coach. Since the departure of Stephen Hart following that debacle in Honduras the position has remained vacant while the CSA begins it's search for a long term replacement. It was widely expected that Canada would go with an interim head coach of the upcoming friendlies and possibly even the Gold Cup this summer to allow the CSA time to conduct a proper job search and possibly to wait for candidates to come available that will be part of World Cup qualifying this year.
It now seems that Colin Miller, the new FC Edmonton boss, will be the man to step in on an interim basis and lead the team for the short term. According to a report on the Team 1040 out of Vancouver Miller will take over the coaching duties in the coming days and will be joined by Mark Rogers as his assistant and Paul Dolan will continue to coach the keepers.
This will mark the second time that Miller has served as an interim coach for Canada but the last time he took on the role it was only for a short period of time and he was just in charge for friendlies. He was an assistant coach with the national team from 2000 until 2002 under Holger Osieck before taking the head coaching job for the fall of 2003. His short lived term with the team was fairly unsuccessful but it is hard to judge a coach on such a small sampling when he does not have genuine control over the program.
Outside of the Canadian national team, Miller has a fairly impressive playing and coaching resume. He earned 61 caps for Canada as a player while playing in a variety of leagues from the old NASL, to the Scottish Football League, and even the Canadian Soccer League. Since retiring, he has been a coach with a number of different clubs including Derby County and the Vancouver Whitecaps before taking the job with FC Edmonton this winter.
Miller is not exactly a big name but he does know Canadian soccer and is well connected so he makes sense to bring in on an interim basis. It is also important to note that it seems his hiring can only be as an interim coach and no matter how well he does with the team he will not be given the job full time. Stephen Hart first coached Canada on an interim basis but after an impressive Gold Cup showing ended up being handed the full time job after Dale Mitchell's disastrous World Cup 2010 qualifying campaign. That will not be happening this time around according to the reports which is probably a good thing.
Having Miller in place to at least hopefully do a competent job of looking after the team and possibly exposing some new players will be enough in the short term and will buy the CSA the time that they need to conduct a proper search for a new coach. Getting that hiring right is absolutely critical so having the pressure to make a rush hiring just in time for some relatively useless Gold Cup would not be good. The best thing the CSA can do now is let Miller have the freedom to work with Technical Director Tony Fonseca to look after the team so that they can focus on finding a new coach.
The first thing Miller will have to do is lead Canada in a pair of friendlies against the USA and Denmark later this month which will certainly be a stiff test. It is expected that the roster for the Canadian camp will be named in the coming week and it should have a lot of new faces included. It is also possible that we will see the roster include a number of Miller's players from Edmonton such as Saiko, Miller, and Porter who will be hoping to impress and possibly earn calls down the road.