Former Arsenal staff finds way to beautiful B.C.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi would love to claim that he recruited goalie coach Mike Salmon away from English power Arsenal.
It was the white caps, though, more than the Whitecaps.
"We just felt there was more opportunity for the kids over here and there's more of what we enjoy doing, with the mountains and skiing," said Salmon, who became disenchanted with life in England and emigrated in October 2007.
Lenarduzzi first became aware of Salmon on a 2004 visit to England with owner Greg Kerfoot. When the two were looking at Arsenal's training grounds, a Gunners scout mentioned a staff member who was eyeing a move to Vancouver.
"I had forgotten about it and then I got an e-mail from Mike to say he'd been accepted [into Canada] and that he hoped there would be an opportunity," said Lenarduzzi, who hopes to create for Salmon a more full-time position next season.
"To have someone arrive in your city who was at Arsenal -- that's a pretty good testimonial right off the bat. They didn't want to lose him, but we got fortunate."
Salmon, best known for his 10-year playing stint at Charlton Athletic from 1989-99, has made an immediate impression on goalies Srdjan Djekanovic and Jay Nolly.
"Yeah, definitely it gets your attention," Nolly said, referring to Salmon's resume that includes his role with the Arsenal reserves since retiring in 2002 after 148 league appearances. "Mike brings a different style and he brings different drills.
"As goalkeepers you've got to challenge yourself to get better. If you keep doing the same things you're going to stay the same. Mike's really pushing us."
Added Djekanovic: "He's brought in some stuff that I've never done before and never seen. He's very professional and pays a lot of attention to details. He's always watching for little things he can correct."
Salmon shrugged off the idea that he's an outside-the-box goalie coach, saying the unfamiliarity with his drills is probably more a commentary on the challenges of becoming properly qualified. The process took him seven years in England.
"A lot might look at that and say 'I'm not going to bother,'" he said.
"I try to make things as game realistic as possible. I've always looked to why goals are conceded and how to prevent them and that's why I work the way I do."