VANCOUVER, BC – Corey Hertzog is back in Vancouver after spending three months on loan with FC Edmonton of the North American Soccer League (NASL).
The Eddies concluded their fall season this past weekend with a 1-1 draw against Fort Lauderdale Strikers, which signalled the end of Hertzog’s spell with the Alberta outfit.
Hertzog said he’s happy to be back in Vancouver, but he only had good things to say about his time in Edmonton.
“Obviously as a player, you just want to play games – no matter where you’re going or what team you’re on,” Hertzog told whitecapsfc.com. “It was a really good experience overall. I didn’t score as many goals as I would have liked to, but playing those games, meeting new guys and being on other teams is just a good experience for someone young like me.”
The 23-year-old striker scored two goals in 1151 minutes of action after joining Edmonton at the beginning of August. He scored the winner in his debut on August 11 and then added another tally September 7 in a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United.
Goals were hard to come by for the entire Eddies squad, who finished the season with a league-low 13 goals in 14 matches. Eventually, Eddies head coach Colin Miller moved Hertzog to the left side of the midfield as opposed to playing up top – a switch Hertzog welcomed with open arms.
“Getting to see the game from another point of view was definitely a good learning experience for me,” Hertzog said. “In Vancouver, I played out wide a couple games and growing up I played out there as well so I felt really comfortable.”
Hertzog, who saw limited time with New York Red Bulls over the past two seasons before joining Whitecaps FC as a free agent at the beginning of January, started six of his seven appearances with the ‘Caps in 2013.
He scored his first MLS goal, in his first MLS start, on April 6 in a 1-1 draw with San Jose Earthquakes and found the back of the net again with a long-range strike the following month in the Amway Canadian Championship – coincidentally, against FC Edmonton.
As the attacking trio of Camilo, Kenny Miller and Russell Teibert found their form midway through the season, however, it became increasingly difficult for Hertzog to get any minutes with the first team, which is why both parties felt a loan to Edmonton was in his best interest.
“I didn’t know anybody on the team at first, but the guys were really cool,” said Hertzog, who became close with former Whitecaps FC defender/midfielder Wes Knight, among others. “I became friends with everybody on the team. It was a really easy transition. The team and the staff made it really easy for me.”
Hertzog still followed the ‘Caps regularly from Edmonton and kept in touch with a few of the guys, mainly Bryce Alderson and Greg Klazura. Although he wasn’t with the team down the stretch, he said he still felt the disappointment of missing the playoffs.
“You always want to make the playoffs … but I felt like we had a good season,” said Hertzog, who plans to increase his strength and speed in the offseason. “The club is going in the right direction."