FC Edmonton will unveil its new reserve team on Wednesday.
Last week, the 24 of the most talented teens in the region — brought in on an invite-only basis — tried out for the club, and 12 were selected. Those 12 will be unveiled at a press conference Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Composite High School. The 12 selected players will attend classes at St. Joe’s in an integrated program that is designed to keep them in school and accelerate their soccer learning curves.
The reserve team will compete in the Alberta Major Soccer League, which has a playing level that’s about equal to the Canadian Soccer League in Ontario and Quebec. The junior players will play with FCE’s non-starters on the reserve squad. But, unlike the senior players, the 12 junior players are ineligible to be called up to play in NASL this season. They have been signed to amateur contracts, which allows them to retain their eligibility for U.S. colleges.
Paul Kelly will act as an advisor to the student athletes.
“St. Joseph High School offers excellent programming options and opportunities for high level athletes engaged in sports that require flexible scheduling,” Kelly said in a release issued by FCE. “The flagship program, Personalized Self Directed Learning, allows students to participate in 21st century learning/teaching methods, affording students the opportunity to work at their own pace in a customized learning environment.”
Kelly played soccer at Eastern Illinois University, has been an assistant coach with Alberta’s U-17 program. He has also been a member of the coaching staff at Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan University.
The reserve team will be run by FC Edmonton assistant Jeff Paulus, who was hired by the club after he led NAIT to an undefeated championship season at the Canadian college level.
FC Edmonton already announced the launch of its academy last season (see link below).