FC Edmonton Archive

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All access: Fury, FC Edmonton road games to be streamed on TSN GO in 2015

imagesFC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury supporters will be able to access the majority of their teams away-game broadcasts this year via TSN GO.

The North American Soccer League announced its broadcast plans for this season and, as expected, the pay-per-view NASLLive platform is gone. ESPN3 is now the base for all U.S. broadcasts save for the New York Cosmos, whose rights are held by ONE World Sports. Canadians can’t legally access ESPN3 streams, but there is a plan in place to ensure the fans on the northern side of the border can see the away games.

When the Eddies or Fury visit eight of the nine U.S. teams (minus the Cosmos), the games will be streamed on TSN GO. Cosmos games can be accessed through ONE World.
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6

Why we in Edmonton should see Minnesota’s move to MLS as bittersweet

10659388_10152654651984494_3033798155037099486_nBeing in Edmonton on the day that the Twin Cities officially gets the nod as the next MLS franchise is well, kinda bittersweet.

Let’s face it; the Eddies used to have a decent rivalry with Atlanta a couple of years back because the teams didn’t necessarily like each other very much. But, really, it’s hard to pinpoint who is supposed to be FCE’s rivalry team. Ottawa? No. Except when we play each other, we all kinda cheer for Ottawa because the club is committed to giving Canadians minutes on the field.

But, with the Flyover Cup — a supporter-driven initiative which sees the winner of the FCE/Loons season series get the award — it should be Minnesota who is our closest rival. But, in a weird way, the Loons are kind of like the Eddies’ best frenemy. We’re the cold-weather cities in a league filled with tropical teams; we’re united in our sense of isolation from the rest of the NASL.

And our matches against each other, well, they’ve been excellent. The interaction between supporters has been great. It won’t be forgotten that the Dark Clouds, the main support group for the Loons, raised money when they found out about the fire that devastated the town of Slave Lake, north of Edmonton, back in 2011.

I have a lot of respect for the organization; whenever they’ve come into Edmonton the team has been great to deal with. Coach Manny Lagos has always been open with our broadcast team.

So, it’s kinda like seeing a best friend get married; you are happy for the guy, but you know your relationship will change.

Minnesota United will move to MLS in 2018; and while there will no doubt be those die-hard factions of NASL supporters who will see the team’s move as some kind of betrayal, the fact is this: The Loons’ acceptance into MLS is very, very good for NASL.
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Johann Smith had to keep his FC Edmonton contract a secret

Johann Smith

Johann Smith

Five years ago, after parting ways with Toronto FC, American Johann Smith was with Croatian side, HNK Rijeka.

In his first training session, the former Bolton Wanderers youth team prospect learned a lot about the importance of keeping the ball. In Croatia, far more emphasis was put on keeping the ball than in North America. He was in Croatia from 2009-10, and he said that it was there where he really grew as a played.

“It was my first day, and we did five v. two for an hour,” says Smith, the forward/left winger whose FC Edmonton deal was made official on Tuesday. “I think for 45 minutes out of that hour I was in the middle.”

The Croats emphasized keeping the ball and moving the ball. Smith always had the athleticism; growing up in Connecticut he was a high-school track phenom. And Toronto FC fans will remember him best for his blistering pace, though he didn’t score an MLS goal for the team in 14 appearances.

From Croatia, Smith went on to play in Sweden, Finland and Australia. But he always wanted to return to North America. Even though the Eddies don’t play in the United States, he continually referred to coming back “home.”
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Miller on FCE’s probable season-opening starting XI: “One or two spots up for grabs”

FC Edmonton's indoor training session have come to a close.

FC Edmonton’s indoor training session have come to a close.

FC Edmonton’s players have gone through 16 indoor sessions at the Commonwealth Fieldhouse over the last three weeks. Now, they’re ready to hit the great outdoors for the final three weeks of their NASL preseason camp.

The team finished their Edmonton part of training camp with a 70-minute scrimmage, and will depart for Florida over the weekend. The Eddies open the NASL season at Jacksonville on April 4, as the Armada makes its debut in the league.

Going into the three-week Florida portion of camp, coach Colin Miller said he has a good idea on who most of the starting XI will be on April 4.

“But there are still one or two spots up for grabs,” Miller said “And some of the guys here are making good cases for them.”
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1

FCE’s Jonke out to prove that 2014 was a fluke

Frank Jonke in action for FCE against the Ottawa Fury. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Frank Jonke in action for FCE against the Ottawa Fury. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

A month before the start of FC Edmonton’s training camp, Frank Jonke was awoken by a terrible pain in his gut. The Canadian striker was in agony. Not only was the pain severe, he couldn’t keep food down. By the time the NASL team’s camp opened, he was down 15 pounds.

But, the pain went away as quickly as it came. And doctors never were able to diagnose what was wrong. A virus? Food poisoning? The only thing they were able to rule out was a food allergy.

Jonke missed the first couple of days of training camp.

Jonke sees the silver lining. “Now that I lost that weight, I am quicker and lighter,” he said. And he isn’t sure if he’s going to try and put that weight back on.

Maybe the change will be good for Jonke, because he desperately wants 2015 to be the year where he proves 2014 was a fluke. Jonke arrived in Edmonton in 2014, after playing for coach Colin Miller on the Canadian national team. Jonke decided to leave Finnish football behind for the NASL, and hopes were high that the forward nicknamed “Bully” would terrify opposition centre backs.
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3

Atlanta, Georgia, Canada: Porter joins the Silverbacks

Kyle Porter

Kyle Porter

Kyle Porter has returned to the NASL.

The Atlanta Silverbacks announced Wednesday that they have signed the Canadian international. Porter will be reunited with fellow Canadian former FC Edmonton teammate Dominic Oppong, who signed with the Silverbacks last month.

Porter spent the previous two seasons with the DC United organization, but spent much of 2014 with the MLS team’s USL affiliate in Richmond. He was released at the end of the season.

Before that, he spent two seasons with FC Edmonton, scoring a total of 12 goals; the Eddies offered him a new contract, but he chose to pursue a what turned into a successful trial with DC United and the Eddies pulled the offer off the table.
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2

Sanna’s advice helped steer Sainey Nyassi towards FC Edmonton

Sainey Nyassi

Sainey Nyassi

Last year, Sanna Nyassi was a member of the Montreal Impact, and started both legs of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal against FC Edmonton. A last-gasp Patrice Bernier penalty kick allowed Montreal to snatch that series from the Eddies.

But the Eddies’ play over those 180 minutes made a lasting impression on the Gambian player, who has since moved on to the San Jose Earthquakes. So, when his twin brother, Sainey, was looking for a club, Sanna gave the Eddies a glowing review.

Sainey decided to take up the Eddies’ offer and joined the NASL side after spending the 2014 season with RoPS of the Finnish League. Before that, Sainey had played 118 MLS matches with New England and D.C. United.

“My brother played here in Edmonton with Montreal,” Sainey said after the Eddies’ training camp session on Wednesday. “He said he was impressed by their quality, that they were a good team. He said that they were very lucky to win the last time they played.”
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8

Midfielder Granitto had options in Serie A and MLS, but chose FC Edmonton

Tomas Granitto

Tomas Granitto

In the autumn of 2014, Tomas Granitto had options. He had a pre-contract offer from Palermo of Italy’s Serie A. He had just auditioned for FC Dallas of MLS, and had an offer to attend training camp with that team in 2015.

But he also had interest from FC Edmonton of NASL. And, he decided to go that route.

“I knew that this would be the best choice for me,” says the central midfielder after the Eddies wrap up their second-day of on-field training at the Commonwealth Recreation Centre. “I knew that I could come in here and help the team out right away, to be a great support for the team.”

In 2013, El Salvador beat Australia in the group stage of the U-20 World Cup. Granitto was named man of the match. And it was El Salvador’s first World Cup win at any age level — that game announced to the world that the young central midfielder had arrived.

“It was a great feeling to be part of that first win in an actual World Cup, and an honour to be the man of the match of that game,” he says.

So, how did FCE coach Colin Miller get in the offer that won Granitto over? The first thing he had to do was sift through the many audition videos he gets from player agents. Most of them get cursory looks. But he was struck when he saw Granitto in action.
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Now with FCE, Hauksson looks forward to the challenge of North American football

Oskar Orn Hauksson

Oskar Orn Hauksson

It’s not hard to pick out Oskar Orn Hauksson out of a crowd of FC Edmonton players wearing the team’s brand new blue and black training tops. He’s got his long blond locks tied into a knot atop his head, in a design that makes you wonder if there’s such a thing as a viking-samurai crossover.

While the long blond locks, startings of a beard and ,the Icelandic heritage might get you thinking “The Mighty Thor” right out of the gate, the veteran hopes that his crosses and ability to pick out a pass will be what makes him stick in the minds of Eddies fans.

While Hauksson has only been in Edmonton a short time — he likes what he sees. On loan from KR Reykjavik, he wants to establish himself away from his homeland. And playing in the NASL offered that chance to diversify his career.

“I’ve been in Iceland a long time, and I’ve won all you can win over there,” Hauksson says after the first formal training session of the Eddies’ 2015 training camp comes to a close. “I’ve played in Europe, too. I wanted a new challenge. I know that soccer is on the rise in North America. My agent came up with it, and we talked to Colin (FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller) and we did the deal.”
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Ex-TFC and Bolton Wanderer Johann Smith begins trial with FC Edmonton

Johann Smith

Johann Smith

The New York Cosmos played friendlies in Hong Kong to help celebrate the Lunar New Year. The Jacksonville Armada played a much ballyhooed preseason friendly against Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union. Minnesota United is training. The Tampa Bay Rowdies are playing games.

It feels like every other team in NASL has been in camp for weeks, yet FC Edmonton just began its on-field sessions on Monday at Commonwealth Stadium.

So, are the Eddies behind the rest of the NASL when it comes to preparations for the 2015 season? Coach Colin Miller doesn’t think so. He says that his players came into camp in shape — and there’s a risk of starting camp too early and burning players out.

“In the past, we’ve had an eight-week preseason, and the players complained about it,” said Miller.

This year, the players and staff will have just over a month to get ready for the April 4 season opener at Jacksonville. The Eddies will travel to Florida in late March and play all three of that state’s NASL teams in a series of friendlies before the games begin for real.
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