Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Colin Miller’s postmortem: Searching for scoring, more on Michael Cox, possible NASL rule changes

Colin Miller’s postmortem: Searching for scoring, more on Michael Cox, possible NASL rule changes

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Colin Miller said he knows that if there isn’t a significant improvement in FC Edmonton’s fortunes next season, that he might be out of a job.

“If we finish in the same position next year, third from the bottom, I’ll be out of a job,” said Miller. “No one needs to tell me that.”

The FCE coach made himself available to the media on Tuesday, after the team updated its fans on the status of its roster (CLICK HERE). FCE finished third from the bottom in both the spring and fall NASL sessions, the product of 11 1-1 draws recorded on the season. (The team had 12 draws total over the two halves of the NASL campaign.)

And Miller promised that finding scoring is the No. 1 priority for the club. With Robert Garrett, Carlyle Mitchell and Chris Nurse not returning to the team, and defender David Proctor’s situation up in the air, three or possible four international slots may open up.

Two attacking players have already been identified by FCE, and word is one signing may be announced shortly after this weekend’s Soccer Bowl.

Miller said that with the spring season only being 10 games long in 2014, he will use all seven slots and not hold any in reserve. The winner of the spring sprint will host the Soccer Bowl. This weekend, Edmonton is expecting frigid temperatures and snow, and that’s the norm for November. Imagine what kind of home advantage that would be?

But Miller said there has been discussion in the league of allowing each team an eighth international player, as long as that eighth international roster slot has been taken by an international at a youth level (below U-23). League officials are expected to give the teams their final say on the proposed change, soon.

The team already announced that it was losing striker Michael Cox, who decided to try the European route.

“Cox was a player that I can assure you, from the owner and myself, was someone we worked hard to try and keep,” said Miller.

Miller said the club and Cox’s original agent had come to terms on a new contract. But then that agent was replaced, and the new agent and the striker formed a new plan for his career.

“I was very disappointed,” said Miller. “I told Michael that he was getting bad information, in my opinion.”

Miller felt that Cox would be better served working as an apprentice striker in Edmonton, a Canadian player at a Canadian club, rather than rolling the dice in Europe.

“There are one million Michael Coxes trying to make a living in Europe.”

Miller said the “door is closed” on Cox possibly making a return to FCE if the European experiment didn’t work out.

Midfielder Chris Nurse, who was one of two Eddies on the league MVP ballot and was named the team’s player of year by the players themselves, informed fans he had turned down FCE’s contract offer. But Miller said the club had rescinded the offer.

“I decided to take it away.

“Chris was a better player in the second season and contributed going forward.”

Miller thanked Nurse for the season he gave to club.

The club still has four decisions to make: Contract negotiations are ongoing with keeper Lance Parker, fullback Antonio Rago and defender David Proctor. Wes Knight’s contract is up at the middle of the month and there is a 30-day period after that to decide what to do for next year.

“I don’t want (Parker) to leave,” said Miller. “I hope we can come to an agreement.”

As for one of the other up-in-the-air players, there is a willingness to stay.

Proctor hinted that the crux of the negotiations will be on how he fits into Miller’s plans next year. He spent much of the season on the bench, and didn’t feature as a starter until later in the 2013 campaign.

“I’m 29 years old,” Proctor said. “I need to play every single week. If that’s not the case (in Edmonton), then it’s something I need to think about.”

But Proctor said both he and his wife enjoy Edmonton and want to stay.

“The team, you can say it’s progressed. Not as much as we would have liked, but there are certainly a lot of positives. We are getting to where we want to be.”

As for the stands at Clarke Stadium next year, general manager Rod Proudfoot is already hopeful for better attendance numbers in 2014.

“We already have more season tickets sold now for next season than we did on February 1st this year, before the last season,” said Proudfoot.

While single tickets will increase in price, the team is holding the line on season tickets. Proudfoot said the per-game cost for season-ticket holders won’t rise in 2014 over 2013. There will be two more home games on the schedule, five in the spring season and then 10 in the fall season.

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12 Comments

  1. kahkakewYawassanay

    July 22, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Edmonton needs to change its attitude about supporting professional clubs. Ottawa’s first home game attendance set a record of 14,600 inspite of the fact they also have a losing record…Edmonton has never sold out any venue for FCE..Foote field or Clarke and their games at Commonwealth have seen even smaller crowds…it is up to the city to support this club in spite of their poor record…simple as that…and since the original NASL and all other leagues Edmontonians have shown time and time again they do not support the beautiful game in numbers that will allow any club to flourish..1.25 million people and outside of 5000 do not buy tickets….pathetic

  2. Kahkakew Yawassanay

    July 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    It is now mid July 2014 and FCEs goal scoring futility continues…it has a lot to do with CM approach and reliance on the old British style of kick and hope..long balls..maybe at the PDL level this works some of the time but obviously not at the NASL level…are the Faths still wondering why they are averaging 3500 per game..when you don’t score goals and are second last in any league chances are strong you will not have strong fan support..whoever is finding these new players that cannot score or keeping CM in his position which employs a system that doesn’t produce goals needs to go…whether that is CM or other coaches or scouts, FCE have not improved in 4 years and are dying a slow death in terms of financial losses..Faths may believe this can be a winner in the city but there is hopeful and then there is stupid…

  3. footy

    November 7, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Yeah Big T, or the 5000 fans Atlanta says they have every single game. Like the supporters have decided to come in a nice round number every single game.

    Of course there were nowhere near 4000 people at FCE’s last game. However, if you look at the season, you can see a steady increase of fans coming to games. It takes time to built a solid team, including regular support.

    • Soccerfan

      November 8, 2013 at 3:26 am

      I agree that they are building a solid team and have some nice numbers come out to the games. I just want more “authenticity” and not give me some BS number of 4000 people were to attend the game. 4000, really? The club has never had 4000 ever attend a game.

  4. left back

    November 6, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    going to retract the last statement…

    not good luck… use common sense and make good decisions… luck has nothing to do with it.

  5. left back

    November 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Hopefully with the 2015 and U20 women’s world cup being played here in Edmonton – FCE will get the benefits of upgraded facilities… new turf is a must for old Clarke Stadium… it would really help if the turf they installed didn’t have the canadian football lines on it as well.. or… here is an idea… put in grass! what a strange concept!!!………. that is step one.

    Step two is the team in general… i don’t want to sound too negative on this forum but CM seemed to butt heads with a lot of players this season… their brand of football was neanderthal-ish for the most part… the team is basically invisible in the media around town…

    Solutions hopefully work out like this…. improve facilities at Clarke… that ‘may’ lead to a better brand of football… increase the advertising budget a bit and target ‘soccer families’ ie – there are 3 edsa indoor facilities which are visited every week buy soccer families this winter… put up something FCE oriented in these facilities to sell tickets and drum up business? (maybe that makes too much sense?)…. and hey…. go local with the team you put on the field!!!

    FCE has to work harder to sell the game… it is a real slow grow and you can tell it is moving in the right direction…. sort of… hopefully Fath can keep on withstanding the loses in yearly revenue long enough….

    good luck FCE…. you will need it.https://the11.ca/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?p=13362&approved=1#comments-form

    • Steven Sandor

      November 6, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      The chances of grass are a)slim and b) none. Our Women’s World Cup will be played entirely on artificial turf, it was part of Canada’s bid. FIFA likes artificial turf, and has drummed out reports in its favour. So, if Clarke is to be used as a training facility for the WWC, it will need to have the latest in artificial turf.

  6. Soccerfan

    November 6, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Seathanaich, what are you talking about numbers for the final home game? It was all a hoax. They did not have 4000 fans come out to the game. The actual drop count was 750. They simply gave out tickets for free. The NASL should do an investigation into that number of 4000. It is dishonest. Bottom line, yes the team took some steps forward but soccer does not sell in Edmonton. Much like the NHL could not have a team in Atlanta, sometimes products are just not successful in the marketplace. The organization can spin it anyway they want, FC Edmonton will usually average between 1000 to 1500 fans. It will be up to Tom Fath if he wants to continue to support the team.

    • Big T

      November 7, 2013 at 1:43 am

      @soccerfan – The reason there were so many no shows was the bad weather not a hoax.Pro sports teams announce distributed tickets,not turnstile numbers so to say there should be an investigation is ludicrous.Better investigate MLS,USL Pro as well as the other pro sports leagues.Ever seen a TFC home game?Chivas? The announced numbers are thousands higher than actual buts in the seats. D3 USL Pro’s Orlando’s turnstile count was 50% lower than the announced attendances for them this season. And all teams give out some free tickets as well.

      • Soccerfan

        November 8, 2013 at 3:23 am

        Yes, the bad weather was a factor. I still don’t understand “why” you would announce 4000 fans? FC Edmonton has never had 4000 fans ever come out to a game. It is absurd. The biggest game of the year against Vancouver had an actual drop count of under 3000. There should be an investigation, it is common knowledge that past FC Edmonton GM’s would simply put tickets in their back pocket and announce that a certain number were distributed. I am not saying that this is the case but be more realistic with your number. If you give 100 tickets to an organization, is there any type of checks and balance system that the tickets will even be used.

        BTW, I have been to a TFC game, several in fact. Each time they are sold out.

        I understand it is common practice which I am fine with. But come up with a more realistic number. 4000 people, really? During the amway championship, if they distributed 50 000 tickets for the game at commonwealth, is it okay to announce a crowd of 50 000?

        • Phil

          November 16, 2013 at 7:42 am

          Just to point something out, FCE’s average attendance was around 2750, not 1000 or 1500. Also, considering that they’re still a pretty new entertainment option in Edmonton, it makes perfect sense to both sell cheap tickets and have a ton of promotions where tickets are half-price, given away to certain groups, etc., just to gain popularity. Considering that FCE have raised their average attendance by about 1200 fans this past season, even while not 100% of those fans are paying for tickets every week, you can’t deny that FCE’s ticketing strategies have done a superb job at attracting more fans, and keeping them interested in coming back.

          The whole ‘ticket distribution numbers vs actual people in seats’ is a bit fishy, but logical in that it sends a message of success and support to prospective ticket buyers. Yes, you might have a couple of supporters who aren’t happy when they find out that the posted ticket distribution numbers differ a bit from the actual amount of fans who show up at each game, but the sense of growth and momentum that is with the club right now attracts new supporters in itself.

  7. Seathanaich

    November 6, 2013 at 4:41 am

    Edmonton FC need to get the type of attendances that they got for the final home game. If they do that, they’ll be able to survive and thrive. The stands look good now – next thing needed is a replacement of the turf . . .

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