FC Edmonton plans to ride the wave of Matt Lam popularity By Steven Sandor Posted on February 20, 2011 1 0 649 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Matt Lam may be gone (for now) but he’s definitely not forgotten. Lam is a member of JEF United — for this season at least — but the team that loaned him out will try to turn the Canadian midfielder’s move to Japan into a public-relations coup. FC Edmonton plans to keep its fans updated on Lam’s progress in the Japanese second division. Expect to see regular web updates. Basically, Lam will be an advertisement for the club. It’s a smart move; if FC Edmonton hopes to attract players — coach Harry Sinkgraven is still looking at two trialists per week — to an unproven NASL club, the player-development card is an important one to play. If incoming players know that the club will help them move up in their careers,it may be a deciding factor for a few young prospects to give pro soccer a try in a city that isn’t Toronto, Vancouver or Edmonton. Lam was FC Edmonton’s top player in its 2010 season of friendlies; so good, in fact, that when former FCE coach Dwight Lodeweghes made the move to JEF United, he made a deal to bring Lam over on loan until New Year’s Day 2012. He also brought over veteran Sander van Gessel. Lam is one heck of a popular player at the moment. Even though the extent of the Edmonton native’s playing time in the Canadian program is 45 minutes with the U-20 side, the former Ajax academy member is generating a heck of a lot of buzz on message boards in Japan and in our home and native land. Matt Lam While the The11.ca has been in existence for just about three months, the website tracking shows that, after Canada, the next greatest number of hits come from Japan. The Feb. 7 story about Lam being loaned out to FC Edmonton has received far more pageviews than any Canadian national team, Toronto FC, Whitecaps or MLS news. The rise of Aron Winter to the helm of TFC, Dwayne De Rosario’s controversial trial with Celtic and the Carolina Morace battle with the CSA; none of these stories received even half the traffic as the update on Lam’s loan move to Japan. It speaks to how fanatical and how hungry for information the JEF United fan base is. (By the way, the11.ca’s second-most popular story to date, van Gessel’s move from FC Edmonton to, you guessed it, JEF United). It also shows that, because the Whitecaps, TFC and the women’s team make headlines in the national media, that there are many places to turn to about news on them. But, FCE still isn’t a regular beat for anyone at the Edmonton newspapers, so there is a concentration of fans hungry for FCE news that have fewer outlets to which to turn. Anyone who doesn’t follow the Canadian soccer scene and simply looks at the site statistics would immediately assume that Matt Lam is the most popular soccer player in Canada.