Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Eddies prepare for a run of “10 Cup finals” and try to shut out the NASL gossip

Eddies prepare for a run of “10 Cup finals” and try to shut out the NASL gossip

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FC Edmonton has 10 regular-season games left this season; the Eddies are nine points behind the New York Cosmos for the fourth and final playoff spot in NASL.

According to coach Colin Miller, the team has “10 Cup finals” to play, and that means there isn’t time to worry about the latest soap opera regarding the NASL’s future.

Earlier this week, news broke that the United States Soccer Federation denied NASL’s application to continue on as a Division-2 league in 2018. The league was granted a one-year waiver to continue as a Div-2 league last winter despite being reduced to eight teams.

FCE is the only Canadian team remaining in NASL, with the Ottawa Fury having moved to USL for the 2017 season.

Division designations are unimportant in Canada, as our national association allows the Fury, FCE and the three Canadian MLS teams to compete for the Voyageurs Cup. Until the Canadian Premier League launches, the Cup is the official Canadian championship and is the decider of who from this country goes to the CONCACAF Champions League.

But, despite there being no promotion or relegation in American soccer, the designation of Div-1, Div-2 and/or Div-3 status is a big deal as it’s tied to status, sponsorship money, perceived league prestige. 

“There’s nothing we can do about it as players,” said FCE captain Nik Ledgerwood of the latest episode of As the NASL Turns. “We try to go on with our work, although it is a distraction. It’s your workplace, it’s up in the air. But, at the same token, it’s the same thing as last year. We were dealing with the same thing in the off-season. Nobody knew if there was going to be a league, a team, whatever it was. We’ll continue to work hard and do our stuff, and we hope the fans will come out and continue to support the team.”

Attendance at Eddies’ games is up about 75 per cent this year.

“The message from the league is that we carry on,” said Miller. “We’re focused on one game at a time. Whatever happens with the powers-that-be will happen. We are very positive. Our ownership, everything, is rock-solid. We are just focusing on trying to get into that playoff spot. Whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. But this group of players and our staff and our ownership, everything, has been so positive and we won’t be distracted by anything… We will carry on. We owe it to our fans, we owe it to everybody because it’s been such a good season, we will be as positive as we possibly can.

“I don’t even know if there is any uncertainty. There’s a decision being made. It doesn’t affect us. We’re here. We’ve got 10 games to go, 10 Cup finals to go. We can’t afford to be focused on other things.”

Hurricane Irma

The Eddies will host the only NASL game being played this weekend, Sunday’s date at home to North Carolina FC. All of the other games in the league have been postponed due to Hurricane Irma, which has already hit Puerto Rico and is moving towards Florida.

The Eddies are scheduled to play in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, and have road games to go in Jacksonville and Miami in October.

The Eddies are ready for more schedule changes, if need be.

“With the greatest respect, we hope everything is OK in Puerto Rico, that everyone is safe and well,” said Miller. “But they’ve got to look at it and say maybe that [playing elsewhere]  is the best bet… It’s up to Puerto Rico to do that, but we’ve thought of everything in terms of preparation. It is a horrendous situation for not just the people in Puerto Rico but all the Caribbean Islands. Nobody seems like they’re going to escape this for the next little while. As long as everyone is healthy and safe, that’s the most important thing, and I am sure Puerto Rico FC will come out and make a statement at some point, just about  how things are on the island and with the football club. We’re told everybody is OK, there.  But’s it’s a real shame.

“That [playing games in other venues] has to be a possibility if things aren’t functioning properly on the island.”

 

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