Ottawa

'Still a long way to go': Julian de Guzman on his first days coaching Ottawa Fury FC

This Sunday marks Julian de Guzman's first home game as Ottawa Fury FC's interim head coach and general manager, after Paul Dalglish announced his resignation earlier this month.

Sunday's match marks the Canadian soccer star's first home game as head coach

Julian De Guzman speaks to reporters at TD Place Arena on Aug. 25, 2017, ahead of his first home game as the interim head coach and general manager of Ottawa Fury FC. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Ottawa Fury FC are back on home turf this weekend — but the team will have a slightly different look on the sidelines.

This Sunday marks Julian de Guzman's first home game as the club's interim head coach and general manager, after Paul Dalglish announced his resignation earlier this month. 

"[It's been] difficult, fun, exciting, nervous — a lot of emotions," said de Guzman on Friday, speaking to reporters for the first time since moving into the new role.

"[It was] something that I didn't expect to happen so soon. But at the same time, I'm in a dream position."

So far, however, de Guzman's stint at the helm hasn't been exactly dreamy: since taking over, Ottawa Fury FC has tallied two losses and a draw in three road games.

"I wanted to see the guys do well, and I mean, there was a lot of positives," said de Guzman, acknowledging the team had the bulk of the ball possession in those matches, even if they didn't come away with any wins.

"To outshoot teams and out-possess teams is great, but now we just need a result to follow. And that'll definitely come on the weekend."

Julian de Guzman kicks the ball away during a World Cup qualifying match in 2012. The Ottawa Fury interim head coach took part in four World Cup campaigns with the Canadian men's squad before retiring earlier this year. (Mike Cassese/Reuters)

'Still a long way to go'

De Guzman ended his playing career as the most-capped member of the Canadian men's soccer team, playing in 89 international matches since his debut in 2002.

He also played in four different World Cup qualifying campaigns, and was named Canadian Player of the Year in 2008.

After parts of four seasons with his hometown club Toronto FC, de Guzman signed with Ottawa Fury FC in 2015. He announced his retirement in January and had been serving as the team's assistant coach before getting the promotion.

De Guzman said Friday that while he did "a lot of talking with my feet" on the pitch, his goal now is to establish himself as a respected team leader.

"It's a new role and I still have a long way to go as a head coach. As a player, I've done pretty good," de Guzman said. "And now, as a coach, I feel I need to do better."

The Fury take on the New York Red Bulls II at TD Place Sunday, with the game kicking off at 2 p.m.

The club currently sits in 12th place in the United Soccer League's Eastern Conference, with seven wins, nine losses, and seven draws. That puts them four points out of a playoff position with nine games remaining in the 2017 season.

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