Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Fordyce, Watson set to become Canadian citizens — what does it mean for FCE, CanMNT?

Fordyce, Watson set to become Canadian citizens — what does it mean for FCE, CanMNT?

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Daryl Fordyce and Albert Watson have made major impacts since they left their native Northern Ireland three years ago to sign with FC Edmonton.

Fordyce is the Eddies’ all-time leading scorer. He’s tied for second on the all-time Amway Canadian Championship scoring list, with four over three campaigns. Meanwhile, Watson has established himself as the FCE captain and one of the best defenders in NASL.

This week, they both took on the written test — one of the final stages on the citizenship path. The players and their families are committed to becoming Canadian citizens. They want to make their lives here.

But, on the practical side, the second they get sworn in, things change for FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller. Fordyce and Watson will no longer be international players, so that means two precious international roster spots open up for Miller to use as he wishes.

And, could this also put Benito Floro, the coach of the goal-scoring challenged Canadian national team, in action? Fordyce said Wednesday that if Canada asked him, he would switch — and represent Canada internationally. But there’s a fly in the ointment; Fordyce has played for Northern Ireland’s U19 and U21 teams.

Here are the FIFA rules: “If a Player has more than one nationality, or if a Player acquires a new nationality, or if a Player is eligible to play for several representative teams due to nationality, he may, only once, request to change the Association for which he is eligible to play international matches to the Association of another Country of which he holds nationality, subject to the following conditions: a) He has not played a match (either in full or in part) in an Official Competition at “A” international level for his current Association, and at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an Official Competition for his current Association, he already had the nationality of the representative team for which he wishes to play; b) He is not permitted to play for his new Association in any competition in which he has already played for his previous Association.”

So, because Fordyce, 29, didn’t have Canadian citizenship when he represented Northern Ireland, he’s not be eligible — but, players in the same situation as Fordyce have successfully lobbied FIFA in the past. (Of course, assuming that Floro is up for that).

Watson, 31, has played for Northern Ireland’s U23s in the past.

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