Something about this story feels familiar. Back in 2007, it was Stephen Hart who stepped in to take charge of the Canadian Men's National Team on an interim basis that was supposed to just be for the Gold Cup. He led Canada to a semi-final appearance which began a relationship between Hart and the CSA that would last until the fall of 2012 seeing him earn a second spell as interim coach and eventually being named Head Coach on a permanent basis.
Things will be different this time around though as the CSA are clearly deep into a search for a new Head Coach and even though the position has been vacant for eight months they are in no position to make a rush hire if it is not the right fit. So by handing the reigns of the Men's National Team to Colin Miller once more the CSA is doing the safest possible thing.
Miller has taken on the role in the past and proven to be the go to choice for Canada's friendlies this year. His history with the CSA makes him a good choice because he will know that coaching during the Gold Cup will not be a job audition for him and when he is done he can head back to his day job with FC Edmonton. He is also a known quantity to Tony Fonseca and they have an existing working relationship which will be helpful considering that Fonseca will likely have a major role in picking the Gold Cup squad and deciding what Canada's approach to the tournament will be.
Under the guidance of MIller, Canada has put in some solid performances this year despite dealing with young, inexperienced rosters and a lot of player turnover. His first outing against Denmark was far from ideal as a very young Canadian team lost 4-0. That was followed up by a much stronger performance in a 0-0 draw against the United States and most recently a 1-0 defeat against Costa Rica in Edmonton.
The record has not been great but Canada has been playing some good attacking soccer but have lacked the needed quality in front of goal. The results are not surprising considering the squads that Miller has had to work with but based on the 35 man roster there should be more talent at his disposal for the Gold Cup.
“I feel very privileged and grateful to have been chosen to lead Canada into this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup,” said Colin Miller, Interim Head Coach for Canada’s Men’s National Team. “I need to thank FC Edmonton’s organization for supporting me and allowing me to make the most of this amazing opportunity that the Canadian Soccer Association is entrusting me with.”
Miller's schedule with FC Edmonton works well for taking charge of Canada thanks to the NASL format change this season. He will be able to join Canada after the league's spring schedule wraps up and not miss time with Edmonton thanks to the break between the two halves of the NASL season. The league is taking the entire month of August off from matches which is why FCE are will to make Miller available to Canada.
“We all know the commitment and dedication Colin has shown to the profession and to our country,” said Victor Montagliani, President, Canadian Soccer Association. “We know he will lead the group and ensure that the Canadian jersey will be worn with honor.”
So it seems to be a good fit between coach and country but this time around it won't be like what happened with Stephen Hart, we all hope.
Canada will get together for a training camp in California on June 26th but before they do that the 35 man roster will have to be narrowed down to 23. Following that camp they will open the Gold Cup against Martinique on July 7th in Pasadena.