In five games without a win so far in 2013, the priority for the Canadian national team has been on the performances more than the results. But in next month’s Gold Cup, there’s no doubt that Canada will be going for wins.
Interim head coach Colin Miller is going with a squad heavy on young and unproven talent that will be given a trial by fire by CONCACAF heavyweights Mexico as well as Panama and Martinique. Despite playing in one of the toughest groups in the tournament, the team is targeting results.
“We haven’t gotten in to make up the numbers, for sure,” Miller said in a conference call as the Canadian Soccer Association announced a 22-man preliminary squad on Tuesday.
“Our seeding, our FIFA rankings, all that sort of stuff becomes really important here now for the next [World Cup] qualifying. So these results, the guys know how important they are and we’re going there to win and not going for damage limitation.”
In his previous two stints as interim boss this year, Miller has essentially been parachuted into camps made up of players who were chosen for him.
On this occasion, he had no say in the initial 35-man draft roster but he had the final say on the group that starts camp on Wednesday in advance of Canada’s first game of the tournament against Martinique on July 7 at the Rose Bowl.
“I met with [CSA president] Victor Montagliani a couple of weeks ago and he said that this was my baby and I was in total control,” Miller said. “I’m excited about the group but I was in total control of this situation.”
While the squad starts to convene in Oxnard, Calif., on Wednesday, Miller won’t arrive until July 1 when his obligations with FC Edmonton of the NASL come to an end.
Until he arrives, technical director Tony Fonseca and all-time Canadian caps leader Paul Stalteri will work on getting the early arrivals up to fitness. Miller will have former Chivas USA defender Ante Jazic as his assistant for the tournament.
The CSA has until Friday to make one addition to the final roster and Miller confirmed he expects another player will be added in time.