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McGill wins prestigious title
By RON FANFAIR
At the beginning of the 2002 soccer season, Aldwyn McGill was the promotions and liaison contact with The Toronto Lions, Canada's newest soccer professional club in the Canadian Professional Soccer League (CPSL).
Last Sunday, McGill -- who was appointed the club's president, general manager and coach during the season -- was rewarded with the prestigious CPSL Coach of the Year award.
"It feels good to be recognized with the honour, but at the same time this was the most challenging season I have endured in my career as a player and administrator," said McGill, who also coaches G.S. United in the Ontario Soccer League (OSL).
"This season has drained me to the point where I have got to sit back and re-group. It has been gruelling."
Early in July, McGill replaced Anthony Ayo as The Lions president and general manager. Three weeks later, he took over the coaching reins from Tony La Ferrera with the club at 3-3.
Proud of players
"That was a tough period," recalled McGill. "Both the club owner (Arnold Milan) and I felt that a change had to be made because of communication and philosophical problems between Tony and myself. It had nothing to do with his coaching ability.
"With the many administrative changes made during the season, the club had to re-group quickly and management had to instill confidence in the players. I brought in some new guys to complement the unit we had and the team held together to make the play-offs. I am proud of the players and the professional manner in which they responded."
The Lions finished the regular season with an 11-6-2 record before being bounced last weekend 3-1 in the play-off semi-finals by eventual Triple Cup winners Ottawa Wizards.
McGill says he will decide during the off-season which soccer responsibilities he will retain for the 2003 season.
"What I know now is that I will have to delegate some more responsibility next year by giving up some of the workload I shouldered this year," he said. "Though I carried a lot in 2002, the fact that I was paid well for the first time ever for doing work in soccer in Canada made the strain a bit easier to take for me and my family."
Coaching for 28 years
Surprisingly, this is the first time that McGill - who has coached many soccer teams in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) in the last 28 years - has been honoured with a Coach of the Year award.
Prior to this season, he was associated with Toronto Metros, Iere, Magic and West Indies in various capacities.
McGill, now 51, came to Canada in 1974 just two weeks after he was selected to the Trinidad & Tobago national side. He immediately made an impact in local soccer by helping to resuscitate the Toronto & Caribbean Soccer League (TCSL) which was on the verge of folding. (The league eventually ceased in 1993).
"I have had fun being part of the game that I love so much," he said. "I do not know how long I will be able to keep going, but for the moment I am happy."
With some fine-tuning of the Lions and a coaching title under his belt, it might not be long before McGill and his team lift a CPSL title.
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