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FC Edmonton loses midfielder van Gessel to Japan

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Sander van Gessel.
First, the coach and assistant coach exercised out clauses in their contracts to leave FC Edmonton for more money in Japan. Now, Dutch midfielder Sander van Gessel is leaving the Alberta capital, too.

Like former coach Dwight Lodeweges and assistant Hans Schrijver, van Gessel had a clause in his FC Edmonton contract that allowed him to leave the club if a better offer came along. So, he is following his former coaches to Japan, FC Edmonton announced Monday.

“Part of our mission as a club is to develop players and encourage them to further their professional careers,” said general manager Mel Kowalchuk in a release. “Sander was one of our first signings. He came to Edmonton with an open mind and a willingness to help develop our younger players. He’s done that and now he has an opportunity to sign a much bigger contract. We wish him all the best.”

“I like it here so it was tough deciding to leave but you have to consider what you have here and if it’s worth changing everything to go over there,” said van Gessel. “I’m 34 years old, so there aren’t many opportunities like this coming my way so that’s something I had to think about. I was really looking forward to staying here but the opportunity was just too good to pass up.”

The midfielder had played FC Groningen, SC Heerenveen, NAC Breda and Sparta Rotterdam before signing with FC Edmonton in 2010 and playing an exhibition schedule with the club last season, including friendlies against Colo Colo, Portsmouth and North American division-two clubs.

FC Edmonton has been bringing in two players a week for trials under the eye of new Dutch coach Harry Sinkgraven, who Lodeweges recommended for the job as he departed.

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