Home Business of Soccer FC Edmonton launches ladies’ program for high-school aged players; ASA launches mirror program in Calgary

FC Edmonton launches ladies’ program for high-school aged players; ASA launches mirror program in Calgary

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Players model the new FC Edmonton Ladies' kits.
Players model the new FC Edmonton Ladies’ kits.
FC Edmonton’s women’s program will launch Sept. 9; but those hoping for owner Tom Fath to launch a professional women’s side will have to wait at least a few years.

“FC Edmonton has to be sustainable on the men’s (NASL) side before we go that route,” Fath said during a news conference to announce the new young ladies’ program, aimed at elite high-school aged girls.

The Eddies are getting crowds in the neighbourhood of just a little more than 2,000 per NASL home match, and those crowds and sponsorship deals need to rise for the team not to be a money-losing enterprise. While the Eddies’ men’s team has a national TV deal through Sportsnet, the team is still using a lot of red ink on the accounting sheets.

But Fath didn’t rule out a bid to join NWSL in the years to come.

“That is something we could look to do in the future,” he said. “It’s too bad that there’s not a Canadian team in there. But, if we did go that route, it would be a few years away.”

The Eddies and the Alberta Soccer Association announced a new Regional Performance Centre will be launched, and that centre will link to the Excel Program, which helps identify talent for the Canadian national program. Sergio Teixeira will be the FC Edmonton ladies’ coach, and 20 players from age 14-16 have been recruited to take part in the program.

The Alberta Soccer Association will also launch a mirror women’s program in Calgary, to be run at Foothills Athletic Park. Not only will the ASA administer the Calgary women’s program, it will also launch a boys’ academy to mimic the one FC Edmonton already has in place.

ASA Executive Director Richard Adams said the Calgary programs will likely be affiliated in some way with the Eddies; but if a Calgary NASL team came into the league, then the Eddies would need to make way in that city.

FCE has a boys’ academy in place that has already graduated the likes of Mallan Roberts and Hanson Boakai to the senior team. That academy sees the players split time between soccer training and classes at St. Joseph’s High School. But the girls’ academy won’t be tied to one school. The field times will be late enough at Clarke Stadium and the Commonwealth Fieldhouse to accommodate the players coming from their own schools around the cities.

“That’s a major point, that the players will be able to attend their own schools,” said Adams. “That way, it is easier to bring in the best players.” The Calgary programs will also run with the same school-of-choice system.

Fath said that a women’s program will help attract players to the city, and to make Edmonton a headquarters for top female soccer talent in the country.

“After their careers, a lot of them will end up staying in Edmonton,” he said.

Edmonton will host the opening game of the 2015 Women’s World Cup. The city has Canada’s first two home matches and will host more games than any other city during the WWC.

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5 Comments

  1. Footy boy

    August 16, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Honestly though, I’m wondering when the program for boys will be starting in Calgary. If there isn’t one, they seem to be forgetting a whole gender

    Reply

  2. Footy Boy

    August 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    when will the calgary gentlemens program start?

    Reply

    • Seathanaich

      August 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Good one. It’s time for a Calgary millionaire to step up. At the rate NASL is expanding they will be able to include another non-US team in a few seasons within their 75% US team mandate.

      Reply

  3. Seathanaich.

    August 13, 2013 at 12:47 am

    This is a good first step, they need to have a W-League as their final goal. Ottawa Fury have one, of course.

    I can accept that FC Edmonton cannot yet afford to field a W-League team on their current revenue, but the three MLS teams have no such excuse. Vancouver and Toronto should have bid aggressively to be in NWSL, and instead neither has even a W-League team in its “club”. That is an embarassment, and a poke in the eye to their many female customers.

    Reply

  4. Go Forward

    August 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Wow this is great news , too bad the author of this article insists on calling the female players “ladies” in this context – we would never read of male soccer players being in a ” gentlemen`s ” program – one step forward marred by sexist journalism.

    Reply

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