NASL Archive

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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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1

Another Canadian in NASL: Attakora inks deal with San Antonio

Nana Attakora

Nana Attakora

Nana Attakora has left Unattached FC behind.

The Canadian defender, who has spent time with Toronto FC, the San Jose Earthquakes and, more recently, D.C. United, is now a member of the San Antonio Scorpions. The NASL side announced the deal Wednesday, killing rumours that had linked Attakora to the New York Cosmos.

Attakora had been on trial with the Cosmos.

“Attakora is a current, experienced, Canadian National Team defender with 70 appearances in Major League Soccer,” said Scorpions coach Alen Marcina in a release issued by the club. “He’s competed in CONCACAF Champions League while playing for Toronto FC and D.C. United. He is a powerful, fast defender that brings even more stability to our backline.”
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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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1

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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1

FC Edmonton reaches an agreement with Sainey Nyassi

Sainey Nyassi

Sainey Nyassi

FC Edmonton announced that it has come to contract terms with Gambian attacking midfielder Sainey Nyassi.

Nyassi has represented his native Gambia at youth and senior levels, but he has an American green card so he doesn’t count against the international roster limit. FCE is currently maxed out with seven international spots on the roster.

Nyassi played 104 MLS matches with the New England Revolution, and scored eight goals. In 2013, he made 14 appearances for D.C. United and didn’t get a goal. He spent last season playing in Finland. What Nyassi can briong to the team is his pace; Nyassi will offer speed either coming up the middle or on the wing.

Sanna Nyassi, Sainey’s twin brother, is more familiar to Canadian soccer fans, as he made 54 appearances with the Montreal Impact — scoring eight goals in his time in Quebec.
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1

Canadian midfielder Oppong returns to North America with Atlanta Silverbacks

Dominic Oppong

Dominic Oppong

After spending the 2014 season as teammates at Finnish second division side AC Oulu, Canadians Dominic Oppong and David Monsalve both tried their luck in the NASL.

Monsalve, the former Toronto FC and FC Edmonton keeper, auditioned for the expansion Jacksonville Armada. But, in the end, the NASL side decided it was too risky to spend an international roster slot on the keeper. Monsalve moved onto Colombia, where he signed with America de Cali. (You’ll read more about this in the spring issue of Plastic Pitch magazine.)

But Oppong, a former FC Edmonton midfielder, caught on with the Atlanta Silverbacks. The NASL side announced the signing on Thursday.
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4

Before you tweet about a Canadian player, read this first

10349900_1008071179208840_1372189140274955851_nSome days, writing about Canadian soccer is depressing. Some days, I swear to myself “this is the last article about Canadian soccer I’ll ever write.”

Of course, that would make some of my harshest critics very happy indeed.

I’ve been very public about Issue 5 of Plastic Pitch. A group of great writers are working on stories about our relationship with the American soccer system. Is having Canadian pro teams mixed into the American system good for the our country’s development in the game? Has it actually hurt us?

Through the last few weeks, I’ve been working to get Canadian players to tell their stories. Many Canadian soccer writers hear the tales about aborted contracts, bizarre under-the-table deals, broken promises, fly-by-night agents and the like. But players, understandably, are worried about coming forward. They don’t want to be seen as bad eggs, dressing-room malcontents or selfish players.

But, finally, slowly, some players are coming forward. Until the stories have faces, the system won’t change. But in the process of putting stories to paper, you can’t help but get snowed under by it all. You wonder if supporting Canadian soccer is like plunging into an endless pit of hopelessness. You understand how the cards are stacked against our players. Those stories will be (at least partially) told in the next issue. It will be by far the most important thing we’ve done.

There is something I want to address, though. Something I’ve thought hard about in the process of doing these interviews. We’re in that part of the NASL and MLS silly season (and right near the closing of the transfer window). So, the message boards and Twitter are filled with jokes about the number of Canadian players on Unattached FC. Many fans wonder “why doesn’t player A try to join NASL Team X or MLS Team Y? Why doesn’t he take a chance to play halfway across the world?”
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5

Fort Mac games means Eddies will spend much of the summer outside of Edmonton

The Eddies will play two "home" games at Fort Mac's Macdonald Island facility this season.

The Eddies will play two “home” games at Fort Mac’s Macdonald Island facility this season.

On Wednesday, FC Edmonton confirmed that the dates on which it will play its two Fort McMurray “home” games.

As had been expected, the Eddies’ fall season opener — kicking off just hours before the Women’s World Cup final in Vancouver — will go July 5 in Fort Mac. The NASL champion San Antonio Scorpions will provide the opposition. The Eddies will return to the heart of the oil sands on Aug. 2 for a match against the Ottawa Fury.

The team had announced last season that two games would be coming to Fort McMurray. But, with the announced dates comes a real test for the Edmonton market.

Because of the Women’s World Cup, FC Edmonton has to clear out of Clarke Stadium — which is an official practice facility for the teams — by the end of May. The team’s final home game of the spring season goes on May 24.

The next time Edmonton is at “home” is the July 5 Fort Mac game. It then goes out on a three-game road trip. FC Edmonton is finally back at Clarke July 26, but then is back in Fort McMurray the next weekend (Aug. 2).
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