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FC Edmonton news: More players signed, some ticket info for NCC

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Two more Albertans highlight the four signings FC Edmonton announced Monday.

The club, which is set to make its debut in the NASL and the Nutrilite Canadian Championship in 2011, has confirmed deals with Edmonton native Chris Lemire, Lethbridge, Alta. teenager Niko Saler, former Portland Timber Mutanda Kwesele and Dutch defender/midfielder Paul Matthijs.

These players spent time with FC Edmonton in 2010 as the club prepared for the 2011 season by playing a schedule of friendlies. But their contracts are being transferred to reflect that they now play in NASL. The process is coming along.

Saler is a defender who has played for the provincial team, and the signing should put him on the radar for the various junior national teams.

Lemire, now 28, was a member of the Edmonton Aviators that played in the USL in 2004. The team went bankrupt halfway through the season, then finished the campaign known as Edmonton FC — administered by the league itself.

The team opens the season April 9 in Florida against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. But the team has plans to make its home openers a week-long celebration of Canadian soccer. Openers? First, FC Edmonton will host Toronto FC in Nutrilite Canadian Championship action on April 27 at Commonwealth Stadium, then will have its NASL home opener May 1 against the Montreal Impact.

“This game is going to be our big Super Bowl,” said FC Edmonton spokesman Andreas Morse.

The team is hoping to launch a week-long celebration of soccer in Edmonton to coincide with the arrivals of two Canadian rivals in the opening week.

Individual ticket information for the TFC game is set to be announced in a couple of weeks time. Right now, the team is guaranteeing that each season ticket will get each purchaser two tickets to the NCC match at Commonwealth Stadium. Those seats will be in three middle sections of the lower bowl. The team is trying to use the NCC game as entry point for potential season-ticket sales, and will stay on that course for a couple of more weeks.

The club leaves for Arizona later this week, where more trialists are expected to come on board. The club will play Arizona Sahuaros on March 7, and has two games against the University of New Mexico. The team is aiming to bring on board some players who have previous Div.2 experience. As well, there could be a couple of MLS cuts who look to make the team, coming into the fold as trialists.

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