Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Folan’s experience a bonus for FC Edmonton

Folan’s experience a bonus for FC Edmonton

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It’s an odd pairing; FC Edmonton’s teenage defender Marko Aleksic, trying to mark 31-year-old veteran Caleb Folan in training.

But, Folan, an Irish international who is in Edmonton as a trialist, doesn’t miss the chance to pass on a little instruction to the teen. Even though Folan is in Edmonton to prove his worth to the NASL club, he still takes time to pass on some knowledge to the younger players on the team.

Folan’s gregarious nature hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“He’s an interesting player, we’ll see how things work out,” said FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller. “He brings a different dimension to the team. Here we have Marko, a 17-year-old, and he’s picking up a 31-year-old with Premiership experience, with international experience. He’s not just playing against Marko, he’s helping to coach Marko.”

Folan has made many stops in England, including Wigan Athletic, Hull City and Chesterfield. He’s also played in Asia. He’s played in World Cup qualifiers for the Irish national side. But, to fans in North America, he’s most familiar for the 2011 season he spent with the Colorado Rapids, where he played in 26 matches and scored six times.

He called his season in Colorado one of the most enjoyable of his career.

“The experience in Colorado was one of the best I’ve had. It’s a beautiful place. And when I got there, the team had just won a championship, and there were so many young players. There was so much energy. I knew that I wanted to return (to North America) and play here for the longer term.”

Caleb Folan

Folan, last with Bradford City, said he had several opportunities to come to North America and try out. And, of any of the cities, Edmonton might be the one he knew the least about.

“Edmonton, I didn’t know too much, but the only way to find out about it was to get a flight and come over.”

So far, he admits the turf field at Commonwealth Fieldhouse, and the turf field at Clarke Stadium, “are not ideal” for a 31-year-old player, but he’s familiar with having to play on the fake stuff thanks to his time in MLS. And, because he spent time in MLS, he’ll be able to adjust to the rigours of playing in North America — such as playing in summer heat and the long road trips.

“When I was in Colorado, I really enjoyed the trips,” he said. “I enjoyed being able to go to another city and stay for a couple of days. That was easy for me. But the climate was a change. Sometimes you would play in a dry heat, and then other times it would be different. We played in Dallas and that was a special kind of heat. And, playing at home, in altitude, was very difficult. Even though that was our home, you never really get used to it. As a player, you have to adapt and you learn to tolerate it, that you have to fight through it.”

And, as for being a teacher on the pitch? Folan said he enjoys passing on the wisdom he’s picked up in England, MLS and Asia.

“I’ve played at so many different levels, with so many different ages of players. I can see the talent; but sometimes young players need that last bit of direction. I like to do that, as well. At times, when you’re a young player, it’s easy to hide away. But you need to be fearless and confident.”

Miller said he’ll talk with Folan early next week and the parties will see where they stand.

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