Home Canadian Premier League CanPL News and Notes FC Edmonton to host Friday night street party to announce pro team’s return — as a part of the CanPL

FC Edmonton to host Friday night street party to announce pro team’s return — as a part of the CanPL

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Don’t call it a comeback. We’ve been here for years.

OK, apologies to LL Cool J, but those opening lines to “Mama Said Knock You Out” could serve as the theme to the festivities in Edmonton this coming Friday night. An open-air fanfest will be held in the Old Strathcona neighbourhood to officially revive FC Edmonton’s pro franchise and welcome the club to the Canadian Premier League. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. local time.

At that event, more details will be released about what stadium the team will call home in 2019. CanPL officials said Tuesday that talks with the City of Edmonton over Clarke Field “are still in progress.” Repeat. As of right now, there is no finalized stadium deal. But, obviously, enough progress has been made in terms of ticket commitments and a permanent home for the Eddies that the league is confident enough to bring the team back.

Sources have told The 11 that the FC Edmonton name will likely remain; but the question is if team’s blue, white and black uniforms and NASL-era crest to remain untouched. I wouldn’t expect them to remain the same.

FC Edmonton played in the NASL from 2011-17; at the end of the 2017 campaign, owners Tom and Dave Fath announced that the club would not return to NASL, and that the professional program had been suspended, while the academy would continue. He said that the pro team would not return if he didn’t have indications that it could be sustainable. That is, the team needed more fan support, more corporate support and more ways to take revenue out of game days. During that time, negotiations between the Faths and the CanPL were ongoing.

The #YEGforCPL fan movement began, with supporters holding regular events throughout Edmonton to promote FCE and convincing people to put down commitment for season tickets if the Eddies returned. Meanwhile, FCE and the City began discussions on a new deal for Clarke Stadium, which called for an increase in capacity from 4,100 to 7,000, the ability to have naming rights and for FCE to be the primary soccer tenant. In its time in NASL, FCE was simply a tenant at Clarke Field, and often didn’t get first choice when it came to game dates. Minor football groups that also use Clarke have come out in strong opposition of a new agreement for the stadium that would be advantageous to FCE.

CanPL commissioner David Clanachan suggested that FCE could also look at Re/Max Field, the baseball stadium in the river valley. But Tom Fath suggested that there had been no discussions with the City about making that move.

(Again, to repeat, stadium negotiations are “still in progress.”)

And, with the recent announcement of Cavalry FC in Calgary, FC Edmonton’s rise from the ashes means that the Al Classico promises to be one of the best, if not the best, rivalry to kick off CanPL next season. Outside of the Indy Eleven superfan who drove up to Edmonton to see a game, the NASL offered little chance for away dates for FCE fans, or for fans of other teams traveling to Edmonton. Now, with Calgary and Edmonton in the same circuit, expect to see road support whenever the two teams meet.

“For me, personally, this event means a big part of my life is coming back on Friday,” said Dallas Walker of the #YEGforCPL group. “I went to my first FC Edmonton match back in 2012 and, since then, my life has pretty much revolved around this club. For us supporters as a whole, it means getting back together with our small and always growing diverse community, and supporting our club in and outside of games. We all met through this club, created special bonds we don’t see in any many sports. We cant wait to watch the Eddies live again and continue to grow our community larger and stronger than ever.”


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