Caribbean Stars in the Community By Aldwyn McGill
|Metro Lions Football Club 2002
Owner Arnold Milan Secretary Bill Dixon
Metro Lions FC was formed in 2002 to participate in the Canadian Professional Soccer League (C.P.S.L.). Arnold Milan was the Owner and Anthony Ayo the President.
Bill Dixon was the club’s General Secretary and Treasurer and the pendulum by which the business evolved. Francois Glasman was part of the Administration in some capacity at the time and although his involvement ran under the radar based on run ins with the soccer establishments he proved to be a valuable asset to Mr Milan in the long run.
Metro Lions Head Office was at 3881 Chesswood Drive in North York and the need Junior Parker for a home field was first and foremost. Anthony (Tony) La Ferrara was the Coach of the Lions franchise and I (Aldwyn McGill) was appointed as the Club’s Promotions and Liaison person.
My Liason function was to coordinate and improve relations with the Scarborough Soccer Association (SSA) to accommodate plans for the club to play out of Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough.
My experience and familiarity with both the Scarborough Soccer Association (SSA) and the CSL (formerly CPSL) Board of Directors helped improve the club relations with the soccer establishments.
The challenge was in tempering the anxieties of the business minds of the Lion’s administrators in order to conform with the reality of developing a marketable soccer product to add to their numerous other businesses.
Metro Lions was approved as a member of SSA and the logistics were in place as Birchmount Stadium was secured with little problem. It also helped that Birchmount Stadium was where Caribbean Stars had played its home games in the Canadian International Soccer (Puma) League and staged its Annual Sports and Family Day events.
With 3 wins and 3 loses a coaching change was implemented due to difference in how the club should move forward and I was asked to take over the coaching duties of the Club.
I felt like I was into the Lion’s den with my hands tied so I ask Junior Parker to be my assistant coach since I knew Parker back in the seventies when I played for West Indies United SC of the T&D Premier Division.
Back then Junior was the assistant coach under Coach Lascelles Dunkley and I was familiar with his coaching methodology. However, adjusting to the transition was not an easy task. The team lost the first three games and managed to defeat Montreal Dynamites while on a two-game road trip.
The road trip to Ottawa and Montreal was the defining moment of Metro Lions 2002 season. Quite a few players were cut after the trip because it showed which players were willing to fight for the team and who were just around to market their skills for individual glory.
We lost the first leg of the trip to a strong Ottawa Wizards team and found solace in Montreal on an extremely hot sunny day. There were always positive moments in 2002 to overcome doubters. Lions captain O’Neil Brown congratulating the coaching staff on our first win was certainly one of those moments. It occurred travelling back to Toronto while the players were ebjoying their first taste of what turned out to be many victories.
It was not only our first win after three loses but it was a game that we were favored to lose. It was the beginning of something special. Metro Lions became the talk of the CPSL and only lost two games of its remaining 14 matches to finish third place in the Eastern Conference and clinch a playoff spot.
The Club went on to defeat the Montreal Dynamites in the quarter finals of the Rogers Cup but was deprived of ultimate success from a heart breaker goal scored by Andrew Nelson in the 83rd minute that gave Ottawa Wizards a 1-0 victory in the semi-final match.
The first year Metro Lions team showed that all is well that ends well via a fantastic late run to make the playoffs. Aldwyn McGill won Coach of the Year (COY)
2002 COY Aldwyn McGill
Back Row (L-R): Manager Ralph Aquino, Coach Aldwyn McGill, Assistant Coach Junior Parker Middle Row: Trainer Paolo Paccione, Rob Defaveris, Pater Firebrace, Kevin Golindo, O’Neil Brown, Kevin Ricketts, Anton Skerritt, Carlos Redman, Mike Glasgow, Jermaine Coleman, Mishel Levkov, Courtney Dennis Front Row: Patrick Bradley, Jason Baker, Caswain Mason, Emil Calixterio, Carmen Allegranza, Fernando Tantalo
Stay tuned for Metro Lions 2003.
McGill wins prestigious title
Story on Aldwyn McGill (CPSL Metro Lions) in Share newspaper…
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
“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.”
Prior to this season, he was associated with Toronto Metros, Iere, Magic and West Indies in various capacities.
McGill came to Canada in 1972, 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.
Yes, well, in fairness to Aldwyn (while I am the first to admit that I didn’t get along with him at all and disagreed with his appointment), he definitely had success with Metro Lions and did (as the article says) win coach of the year so opinions aside, he seems like a reasonable choice to coach the squad. He does have a history with soccer clubs in the community so let’s see what he can do
A little more about Aldwyn McGill
Aldwyn McGill has enjoyed winning seasons with six first year clubs. Those clubs were Cipriani United, Morvant United, Players, Spoilers, Caribbean Stars, and Metro Lions.
McGill learned the role of a football/soccer administrator in Trinidad and Tobago as a member of Maple FC, Colts FC, Morvant United, and Cipriani United. He admits that for the most part his learning curve in those days came mostly from being on the opposite side of management.
McGill maintains that the other side of the isle was the best place to start and the ideal vantage point to learn why rules are made, and their effectiveness or lack of when implemented. But it was the administrators who led by example that impressed him.
After arriving in Canada in November of 1972, McGill trained with Toronto Metros in the preseason of 1973 at both Exhibition and Varsity Stadiums. Toronto Metros was in the North American Soccer League and the only real Professional soccer club in Toronto.
Failing to make the Toronto Metros’ roster cut McGill was then introduced to the late great Ted Coombs after a Metros practice at Varsity Stadium. Combs took McGill under his wing to play for his Amourdale Soccer Club where he was the administrator. The next year (74) McGill went into the Caribbean community and joined Iere Sports Club while Ted Coombs moved on to become the Secretary of the Toronto and District (T&D) Soccer League.
McGill showed another side of his expertise when he put together the Constitution and By-laws for the newly formed Canadian International Soccer League (C.I.S.L.) League document was needed to legitimize the C.I.S.L. existence as a member of the Metro Toronto Soccer Association (M.T.S.A). All the Puma League games were played at Lamport Stadium and under the jurisdiction of the M.T.S.A.
Constitutions is nothing out of the ordinary since McGill had also legitimize several organizations such as the Toronto Caribbean Soccer League (formerly the Street Guys Soccer League (S.G.S.L.), Players Sports Club, and Spoilers Sports Club.
McGill is also a student of the game. He transitioned from a midfielder to a striker to win over 20+ scoring titles. He was one of the up and coming midfielders in Trinidad and Tobago when he was selected to the national squad to undergo training for International duty in 1972 before migrating.
Better known as Midget in the Community Aldwyn McGill is respected not just as a prolific scorer but a creditable person as well. McGill has coached at the youth, men and women’s level with a career winning percentage of over 85%.
2) Perception to Reality
Aldwyn McGill resigned his Director of Soccer Operations and Coaching position of the Metro Lions Football Club in July, 2003; As a courtesy to his players he read the resignation letter to the team after informing Lions management of his decision.
The following season McGill was recalled by Metro Lions ownership to determine whether the International Friendly match between Metro Lions of the Canadian Professional Soccer League and Portmore United of Jamaica Digicel Pro-League would be a sellable idea to the Caribbean Community.
Setting the perimeters for marketing the game McGill was retained as the Promoter of the International match and the infamous Arnold Milan International Friendly match was played in front of a sold out crowd at Birchmount Stadium in September of 2004. (Stay tuned for pictures from Metro Lions-Portmore International friendly)
Aldwyn McGill thinks his skills as a coach are at times overlooked because of his exceptional administrative skills. He insist that the misconception could have derived because he accomplished most of his coaching objectives when he held administrative position/s in the leagues his teams won and while he was a Player-Coach and won multiple individual awards.
McGill considers the Coach of the Year award he won in 2002 in the Canadian Professional Soccer League was a typical example. He was the President and General Manager of the Lions’ club at the time.
Stay Tune for more information on Aldwyn McGill (Biography) called Vintage Midget