PASADENA, Calif. – With Benito Floro waiting in the wings, the CONCACAF Gold Cup is Colin Miller’s last chance on stage as Canadian national team head coach.
But as he gets his squad ready for the tournament that kicks off Sunday, there’s still one thing he hasn’t accomplished yet in his stint as interim coach: getting a win.
Miller was interim coach for three games in 2003-04 as well as for three games this year and a scoreless draw against the United States in January was the best result he could muster. But with Canada set to take on Martinique in the tournament’s opening game (5:30 pm ET, Sportsnet World in Canada, Fox Soccer in US), now is the time for a win.
“I don’t want to say I was desperate,” he said with a smile at Saturday’s press conference at the Rose Bowl, “but I’m as close to desperate as you can imagine.
“Personally, I’d love to get that first win under my belt because it’s very important to me. I care very much about what we’re doing as an association, and I’m excited about it.”
As interim boss, it was inevitable that Miller was going to be relieved at some point whenever the Canadian Soccer Association found its new full-time coach. But Miller found out about Floro’s appointment two days before the public did and told him nothing would change during this tournament.
“[CSA president] Victor Montagliani gave me a call just before training and said it was absolutely status quo,” Miller explained. “It’s my show throughout the whole process.”
It’d be easy at this point to write Miller off as a lame-duck coach with a seasoned European manager coming in to replace him. And it’d be understandable to expect there to be some awkwardness in thinking this group of players might be looking past him and instead at proving themselves all over again once Floro officially takes over on August 1.
That’s not the case at all, according to Miller.
“My job has been made much easier now because we have appointed a full-time head coach,” said Miller. “So now the incentive is now for the players to come and play well for the new head coach as well as me setting my standards for the guys. Thankfully, their response has been terrific.”