Home Canadian Premier League CanPL News and Notes Edwini-Bonsu, Zebie are the first two FC Edmonton signings of the CanPL era

Edwini-Bonsu, Zebie are the first two FC Edmonton signings of the CanPL era

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It was 2013. Canada was set to play Costa Rica in a friendly at Commonwealth Stadium.

Randy Edwini-Bonsu was on Canada’s roster for the game and, as part of the promotion for the national team, he was part of a group of Canadian players who attended an FC Edmonton match at Clarke Stadium. He was at an NASL game in his hometown.

At that time, he didn’t think he’d actually ever play for FC Edmonton.

“I met (co-owner Tom Fath) and shook his hand, I didn’t know I’d ever wear that jersey,” said Edwini-Bonsu, who, along with Allan Zebie, were revealed Thursday as the first signings in the Canadian Premier League history of the Eddies. The two player announcements were part of a league-wide player reveal, as all seven CanPL teams simultaneously introduced their new players.

“I’ve been trying to come home for a while, now,” said Edwini-Bonsu, who appeared for FCE in one of its friendlies against Cavalry FC. “Everything about it was what I was looking for and been waiting for… It means something for me to come back home and represent my city. I’m absolutely excited, I can’t wait to get started.”

Edwini-Bonsu has been in Europe for close to a decade in after he spent time in the Vancouver Whitecaps system. Among the teams for which he’s played: AC Oulu, Eintracht Braunschweig and, most recently, Tennis Borussia Berlin.

FCE’s Allan Zebie enjoys the festivities.

He said that making a move to the CanPL is definitely not a “plan B.”

“It’s absolutely not. I’ve been in Europe for the last nine years, I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do. Right now I’m at the point in my career where I wanted to do something different.”

When he’s at his best, Edwini-Bonsu can offer pace and passion. He’s the kind of player who shows his emotions on the pitch, and has a fiery personality when he crosses the lines, though he’s soft-spoken off the field.

FCE coach Jeff Paulus said he wants players on his team who have that fire. He said he wants players who not only play with intensity, but practice with intensity. He doesn’t mind “flare-ups” in training sessions between players, because those things happen when his charges are passionate about what they do. And he compared REB to a former FCE player and NASL veteran who was no stranger to getting stuck in.

“I want him to keep that (intensity) on the pitch,” said Paulus. “I remember Chris Nurse here. And we all loved Chris Nurse because of his personality on the pitch. And I think teams need to have that. Players need to have that because it drives their hunger and drives their passion for the game. It drives their intensity in training. And this is what we want.”

The other piece is Canadian Allan Zebie, who was  one of the players the Canadian Premier League used in its first-ever promotional video. Zebie played 54 NASL games with FCE.

“He’s important to the club because he’s been around the club,” sais Paulus of Zebie. “Of course, FC Edmonton is the one club in the CPL that has a history. We’ve existed for a while, and Allan brings a big piece of that back with us. He was a starter in the NASL so, certainly he’ll excel in the CPL.”

And Zebie, as a guy who’s become a fixture with the Eddies, has embraced the role of the club’s sort-of Drake; he’s talked to a few players about the CanPL and FCE.

“I don’t think I am supposed to be helping with the recruiting, but I’ve been talking to guys here and there, trying to see what they want to do for next year, and obviously this is a great project,” said Zebie. “I’ve been trying to help here and there.”

While the Eddies have only announced their first two players, Paulus said there isn’t a lot of room left at the inn.

“Two contracts signed, but we’re well on our way,” said the coach. “I would say we’re down the last couple of players.”

He said that some NASL players will be coming to FC Edmonton, and that some of those aren’t FCE alumni. But they’re players Paulus knows very well from his time as the Eddies assistant coach.

 

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