Caceros, Kooy let go by FC Edmonton: Hamilton’s future with club still unclear

Chris Kooy

Chris Kooy

FC Edmonton chopped five players from the roster Saturday, including veterans Chris Kooy and Kenny Caceros. As well, while 2012 NASL Best XI defender Paul Hamilton was not part of the cuts, he is also not signed, either.

The team confirmed Saturday that Hamilton will remain at camp, but isn’t officially a member of the 2013 squad.

Hamilton’s situation is complicated: He comes in as an NASL Best XI player, but when FC brought in established defensive vets such as former Northern Irish U21 captain Albert Watson and Jamaican Lance Laing, there was competition for spots on the back line. When Colin Miller took over as head coach, he reverted every player in camp to “trialist” status, and there were more than a few raised eyebrows when Hamilton’s name didn’t appear on the list of the first 16 protected players, even though it included local Eddies Shaun Saiko and Antonio Rago. Now, with him not being cut but not being signed, it looks as if the ball is in Hamilton’s court in terms of deciding where he wants to take his career.

Hamilton will be in camp for friendlies the team has set up Monday and Tuesday against a university all-star squad.

Kooy, Caceros, ex-Minnesota Star Martin Nunez, trialist Kofi Gyawu and Michael Marousek, invited to camp after impressing at a November combine, were all cut.

Kooy led the NASL in minutes played in 2011, and the Canadian was regarded as one of the leaders in the dressing room. His playing time diminished in 2012, and the Calgary native got a bad break when a foot/ankle injury kept him out of a chunk of Tueaday’s friendly against the University of Alberta. Kooy foreshadowed the move Saturday morning, when he tweeted “nothin’ but love” to the club and the Edmonton Supporters Group.

Caceros was a regular starter for the Eddies in the second half of the season. Ironically, he was key in helping recruit his best friend, fullback Edson Edward, to the Eddies’ fold. Edward was signed on Saturday, and Caceros, his buddy and teammate from various Ottawa clubs, including the Fury, was cut. But, with Ottawa Fury SC coming into NASL next season, Caceros provides a prime option for a hometown signing.

Another shock was the decision to chop Nunez; the former Minnesota Star scored five times last year and was a constant thorn in the Eddies’ side last season.

“It’s easier to make cuts if the players aren’t good people but with these guys, that wasn’t the case,” FCE Director of Soccer Joe Petrone said in a release. “Chris and Kenny served the club extremely well and we wish them all the best in their careers.”

Massimo Mirabelli, who played in Finland last season and also impressed at the November combine, is still with the club, but the contract has not been finalized.

Strikers Michael Cox and Elvir Gigolaj have been re-signed, as has Canadian midfielder Michael Nonni, who also trialed for the Eddies last season. Dillon Torindo, a Canadian resident from Yellowknife who has played in Zimbabwe, impressed in an extended trial and is also signed.

Two more trialists are expected to be announced within the next 24-48 hours.

As well, Cuban keeper Andy Ramos has made the team, but isn’t officially under contract as the team requires some more time taking an offer through a Spanish translator.

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About Steven Sandor

I'm currently the colour commentator for FC Edmonton broadcasts on Sportsnet, NASL.com and TEAM 1260. I've covered the Toronto FC beat for four years, worked for the Edmonton Aviators of the USL for a season, covered the Edmonton Drillers of the NPSL and started covering Canadian World Cup qualifiers in 1996. I've covered the CONCACAF Champions League and the U-20 World Cup. I'm passionate about soccer in North America.