Edmonton Eddies coach breaks down barriers

By CURTIS J. PHILLIPS, Connect Weekly

FC Edmonton Colin Miller

FC Edmonton Colin Miller

Colin Miller has never lost the passion for the sport of soccer. At age 50, he still has the fire in the belly. Moving with his family to Vancouver, British Columbia at age of 10 from Scotland; he was wearing pro soccer cleats at the age of 18 for the Toronto Blizzard team of the North American Soccer League (NASL).

Following two seasons in the NASL, he returned to Scotland to play for various clubs, until 2005. At this time in his life, Miller had plenty more to give, as he would also do double duty as a player manager and in the coaching ranks starting in 1999.

He is now into his fourth year as manager of the NASL franchise Edmonton FC. Due to the nature of professional sports, this is only the second time he has stayed put with the same organization for more than three years. An “exacting way of life” that he admits to.

The last time he had a home-away-from-home was from 1988-1993 with the Hamilton Academical Football Club of the Scottish Premiership, where he was part of two Scottish Challenge Cup championship squads.
Miller is no stranger to Fort McMurray soccer.

Since the announcement that Edmonton FC would be playing two NASL regular season games in 2015 at SMS Equipment Stadium at Shell Place; Miller – along with various FC Edmonton players – has held several clinics for youth in our community.

The league has left a foot print. The first NASL game played here, deemed the Wood Buffalo Cup, saw 1,112 fans attend July 5, 2015 with FC Edmonton shutting out the NASL defending champion San Antonio Scorpions 4-0.

Fort McMurray turf did not prove lucky again for FC Edmonton, as this past Sunday at Shell Place, the Ottawa Fury FC advanced their undefeated streak to 11-matches with a 1-0 victory in the final minutes of extra time. The announced attendance was 1,626.

Miller as always, was willing to talk soccer. One point of interest was his view on the overall development of the sport in Canada.

“I believe at the moment, that we are third world country when it comes to the development of the game because of the politics and nonsense that goes on in every province in Canada,” said Miller, who proudly wore Team Canada colours as a defensive standout for our men’s national team with 61 caps from 1983 – 1997.

“The game is being held back by people that genuinely have different agendas, rather than the development of the elite player and the development of the game,” he continued.

“The game is being held back by people that genuinely have different agendas, rather than the development of the elite player and the development of the game,” he continued.

“We have a village mentality at times with development of the game. People have to look at the big picture, in order to make it work. I am very envious of the success the States are having. When I was growing up in Vancouver, we used to use the States as a punch bag. It used to be a confidence booster to go down to play them. Now, they have surpassed us.”

“We need to work closer with clubs in the communities and build the bridges there. The clubs need to work together. You can’t have people saying: “You can’t take a player from my team because he or she is the best player on my team. Why would I allow them to go to the next level when I won’t get a ribbon at the end of the season? We have to get rid of that nonsense.”

The fire in his belly is still burning strong.

Catch you on the rebound.