Player-assistant coach comes by job honestly - The Province

Offers opinions on and off pitch BY MARC WEBER In 52 games over the last eight years with the Whitecaps, Randee Hermus had plenty of say as to how things played out on the field. She was the backbone of W-League championship teams in 2004 and '06. How much say she now has off it will be revealed on opening day. "You'll see how much influence I have when you see the lineups," laughed the Langley-raised Canadian international, who on Monday was announced as a Whitecaps player/assistant coach for this season. Hermus, 29, has almost exclusively been a central defender for the Whitecaps and for Canada, but said she's gunning for a central midfield spot. "I've always taken the role as centreback, the general," she said. "I'd like some time in the midfield, maybe score some goals. If I'm fit enough to play there, I want to challenge for that spot." The light-hearted Hermus has three weeks to persuade first-year head coach Alan Koch, who opened camp this weekend ahead of the Caps' May 16 season-opener. Only half the potential roster is currently in camp -- with a crop of NCAA players arriving over the next two weeks -- so Koch isn't in any rush to decide positions. Besides, the SFU men's head coach is still familiarizing himself with personnel, an area Hermus will help with. Koch was, however, keen to heap praise on Hermus after only two training sessions. "I can already see it, she's definitely going to be a great mentor for a lot of players," he noted. "She really is an extension of what we're trying to do as coaches. That experience she has is priceless." Hermus has paid a price, though, for a standout career at Simon Fraser, a decade with Surrey United, parts of six seasons with the Whitecaps and 113 Canadian caps. Stress fractures in both feet, and a lingering one in her leg, made a five-month break after the Beijing Olympics an easy decision. She was buoyed over the weekend by a 90-minute effort for Surrey United, as they march toward a sixth-straight trip to club nationals. "It went well," she said, "albeit, I feel like I'm 40 years old. This morning, when I tried to get out of bed, I thought it might be better to stay there. "I'm just trying to get my tolerance for pain to what it used to be. I definitely have that intention to still play with the national team and this is my stepping stone." Hermus has experience coaching girls soccer, occasionally running the high performance programs for Coquitlam, Surrey and North Shore, as well as numerous camps. She didn't think she'd get into coaching at this level so soon, but a friendly nudge from Caps' president Bob Lenarduzzi convinced her. "It seemed like a natural transition to get involved this way," said Hermus, who proved a one-hit wonder last season, parachuting into the lineup for a game and heading in the winner. "I'm already that sort of personality on the field. I'll interject and offer my opinion anyway. "Whether it was well received or not in the past I'm not sure," she said with a chuckle, "but now I can give it and say it's my job." Caps 1 Aztex 1 The Whitecaps men are still without a USL-Division 1 win this season after Marco Reda scored in a 1-1 tie away to the Austin Aztex Tuesday. © Copyright (c) The Province