Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton FCE’s Miller: No player from last-place team gets a free pass

FCE’s Miller: No player from last-place team gets a free pass

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On Monday, FCE named the first 16 players who had made the roster for the upcoming NASL season, and the talk was more about the players who weren’t on the list than who were on it.

Not on the list were Chris Kooy, whe led the NASL in minutes played two seasons ago. Kenny Caceros, a fairly regular starter for FCE in the second half of the season, wasn’t there. Strikers Michael Cox and Elvir Gigolaj were not listed. Edson Edward, the Canadian fullback who spent last season with the Puerto Rico Islanders, has not officially made the team.

And the most notable omission of all — that of NASL Best XI defender Paul Hamilton, who is still in a fight to make the team.

On Tuesday, coach Colin Miller was very frank about the players who were and were not on the list.

“I try to be very honest with everyone,” said the new FC Edmonton coach after a training session at the Commonwealth Fieldhouse Tuesday. “Some people might read more into it than they should, but it is what it is. Guys are working very hard to keep their positions in the club, and it’s not a pleasant time. Over the next week we will be letting players know where they stand.

“Some decisions will have to be made. We cannot go into the season with nine players at the same position. It’s about finding a balance between fitting in the team’s budget and getting the players we need. Some of the decisions I make will be financial, and some will be because we have so many guys in certain positions.”

Miller, who inherited a team that finished last in the NASL under former coach Harry Sinkgraven, understands that supporters might be surprised at some of the decisions he’s made so far — but he wants it to be clear that this is his team. And that means that even players who made the NASL Best XI last season aren’t immune from criticism.

“I have spoken to Paul (Hamilton), he knows he has work to do,” said Miller. “There are weaknesses in his game that I have seen, and that we have talked about. I think the experience that Albert Watson (the Northern Irish veteran who came to FCE from Linfield FC) brings will help Paul with his game.

“But we finished last in the league, last season. Last! We can’t keep things as they were. That’s not to say that Paul Hamilton was the reason we finished last, not at all, but the guys here know what’s expected of them. They know what their deficiencies are. I can’t control what happened last season. But I can control it now that I am here.”

Last year, under Sinkgraven, FCE was all about tactical awareness. So far, two weeks into training camp, and Miller has yet to go into those Xs and Os. He’s working on fitness — the basics — before adjusting the team for the system he wants to introduce.

But Miller’s mantra is this: “It’s a simple game, to be played simply, to be coached simply. There’s no grey area there.”

The players who are on the FCE bubble will be in action against the University of Alberta Golden Bears Tuesday night at the Commonwealth Fieldhouse. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. MT.

 

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One Comment

  1. Mike

    March 1, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    The new coach figures Paul Hamilton isn’t a player on this team? Sorry but most nights he is one of the few who can be counted on to show up. Who’s going to replace the offensive corner set piece of Hamilton heading it into the net? IMO blowing the team up after 2 seasons isn’t the right strategy. Is this the plan now every time it doesn’t go our way? Remember the first season. It was pretty damn exciting. Too bad we couldn’t have stayed the course and let the boys play. All history now.

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