Sports

It's Miller time in Edmonton: Abbotsford soccer coach hired by NASL side

One year after being let go by the Vancouver Whitecaps, Colin Miller is making a return to pro soccer.

The Abbotsford resident was recently introduced as head coach of FC Edmonton, a North American Soccer League side. The NASL is one step below Major League Soccer (MLS) in the North American pro soccer pecking order.

“It’s a phenomenal opportunity for me, as you can imagine, to get back into that level of football again,” Miller, 48, told The News last week. “The reception I’ve received from people connected to the club and fans has blown me away, in all honesty.

“You wonder if you’ll get another chance at this level of football, and here it is, one year after the Whitecaps departure, and I’m getting a chance to be the boss.”

Miller, born in Lanarkshire, Scotland and raised in Vancouver, is a former captain of Canada’s senior men’s national team. He arrived in Abbotsford in 2000, hired to be the first full-time head coach of the Abbotsford Soccer Association (now known as Magnuson Ford Mariners FC). He helmed the local club from 2000 to 2007, at which point he departed for an assistant coach position with Derby County FC of the English Premier League.

Six months later he was dismissed along with the rest of Billy Davies’s staff, and returned to B.C., where he took on head coaching roles with the Victoria Highlanders and the University of the Fraser Valley women’s squad. He would later join the Abbotsford Soccer Association for a second stint as head coach in 2009.

In 2010, he was hired as an assistant coach by the Whitecaps as they prepared to embark on their first MLS campaign, but a year and a half later, he found himself in out of work once again as the ’Caps made a head coaching change from Teitur Thordarson to Martin Rennie.

Over the past year, Miller has been volunteering as an assistant coach with the UFV men’s team and with Magnuson Ford Mariners FC. He also helped out with the Canadian senior women’s squad during their pre-Olympic preparations.

“It was fantastic to get a chance to work with (head coach) John Herdman – he’s a class guy, and a quality coach,” Miller said. “Those girls deserved every ounce of credit that they got.”

Miller’s contract with FC Edmonton officially begins Feb. 1, but he’s in the United Kingdom this week to scout players.

Abbotsford will continue to be the home base for his family.

“Part of my contract was X amount of flights back and forth to Edmonton,” he noted.

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