Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton FCE’s Jonke out to prove that 2014 was a fluke

FCE’s Jonke out to prove that 2014 was a fluke


A month before the start of FC Edmonton’s training camp, Frank Jonke was awoken by a terrible pain in his gut. The Canadian striker was in agony. Not only was the pain severe, he couldn’t keep food down. By the time the NASL team’s camp opened, he was down 15 pounds.

But, the pain went away as quickly as it came. And doctors never were able to diagnose what was wrong. A virus? Food poisoning? The only thing they were able to rule out was a food allergy.

Jonke missed the first couple of days of training camp.

Jonke sees the silver lining. “Now that I lost that weight, I am quicker and lighter,” he said. And he isn’t sure if he’s going to try and put that weight back on.

Maybe the change will be good for Jonke, because he desperately wants 2015 to be the year where he proves 2014 was a fluke. Jonke arrived in Edmonton in 2014, after playing for coach Colin Miller on the Canadian national team. Jonke decided to leave Finnish football behind for the NASL, and hopes were high that the forward nicknamed “Bully” would terrify opposition centre backs.

But, in 17 NASL games, Jonke didn’t score; that came in stark contrast to Canadian Championship games, where he was one of the Eddies’ most effective players. And, in the second leg of their Canadian Championship semifinal against the Montreal Impact, Jonke scored twice, including a penalty-kick conversion.

To add injury to the insult, Jonke spent much of the fall season on the sidelines, trying to regain focus after a concussion.

“Frank and I have spoken about what happened last season,” said Miller. “That’s the one thing about Frank, he’s very honest. I didn’t have to tell him how disappointing last season was. He knew it was.”

And, with the lost weight and the urge to make fans forget 2014, Miller feels the re-energized Jonke will almost be like a new signing for the club.

“Last year was so disappointing; I didn’t realize my goals as a player and as a teammate,” said Jonke. “It was tough. But you have to realize that not every day is going to be a sunny day. Now, I feel that I can only go up. There will be positives, because I have experienced all of the negatives.”

Jonke said that the concussion only compounded the frustration. He wanted so badly to get onto the pitch and redeem himself, but was forced to watch the games from the sidelines, as the Eddies made a late-season charge for a post-season slot.

Maybe it’s a show of confidence, but Miller didn’t do much to change the mix at striker. Jonke, Tomi Ameobi, Daryl Fordyce and the young Sadi Jalali remain the options. Where Miller made additions was in the slot behind the strikers. Miller said Icelandic winger Oskar Orn Hauksson can be used on the wing or as a number 10. (He can also drop Fordyce back to use as the 10.) And former MLSer Sainey Nyassi adds speed either down the middle or on the wing.

Jonke is enthused by the changes.

“It’s going to be a tremendous help. That’s not to say we didn’t have good players last year. But each of the new players brings a new element to the team. That’s the coach’s job, to identify what’s missing and to fill those gaps. And I think that’s what’s been done.”

Now, Jonke just wants to bury those chances. He’s dropped 15 pounds — now he just has to take the weight of the world off his shoulders.


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One Comment

  1. Alex

    March 13, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    He left a favorable impression on me when he came to Minnesota last Spring. But he also DID seem a step too slow. If my memory serves me, he had an excellent chance to score late in the game, but couldn’t convert it quickly enough.

    Even if it’s someone on another team, it’s never fun to see a guy with high expectations struggle. Hope he does well this year, except against Minnesota.

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