Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton From combine to FCE roster: Mirabelli the lone survivor of team’s tryout process

From combine to FCE roster: Mirabelli the lone survivor of team’s tryout process

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Massimo Mirabelli won The Amazing Race. And Survivor, too.

OK, the Canadian winger/forward didn’t win those shows, after all. But the process of him going from Ekenas IF to FC Edmonton trialist to signed player for the 2013 NASL season feels like it came from the world of reality TV.

After leaving Ekenas IF, which plays in the lower divisions of the Finnish soccer pyramid, Mirabelli — a former Canadian U-20 player — came to Edmonton for November’s pro combine. At the combine, 30 free agents performed for FCE’s coaching staff, just hoping to get invited to training camp proper in February. There were ex-Toronto FC and TFC Academy players. There were players who were Vancouver Residency expats. Guys who played at other MLS teams or in Europe. CIS all-stars. NCAA prospects.

Of those, only three got their golden tickets for FCE training camp — Mirabelli, former New York Red Bull Michel Okai and Vancouver Whitecaps Residency product Michael Marousek.

Okai didn’t make it through the first week of training camp. Marousek didn’t survive cutdown day. At the end, the “survivor” was Mirabelli, who looked awfully impressive on the left wing in an indoor preseason match against the University of Alberta.

Massimo Mirabelli

“I knew I was taking a risk (coming to the combine),” said Mirabelli, who hails from the hottest of Canadian soccer hotbeds, Brampton, Ont. “After being in Finland, coming back to Canada was very comfortable. There were players here with a lot of experience, and I think it showed how Canadian soccer is coming up. With the players here, I knew I had to work hard. There were a lot of players here with a lot of quality.”

While Mirabelli didn’t get the chance to play a lot with Ekenas, he did score in the Finnish Cup and played as a target man, and on the left and right sides in the attack. He said while the Finnish crowds weren’t huge, the fans were passionate and the games were very technically proficient.

“The players were very technical in Finland. The games were very technical. And the fans were great. We’d get crowds of 1,000 to 2,000 but the stadiums were great. All grass fields, great places to play. And it was good to experience that European lifestyle.”

Mirabelli wasn’t in Edmonton last season, when the Eddies — despite having the highest payroll in NASL — finished at the bottom of the league. But, so far, Mirabelli likes what he sees in the new FC Edmonton, which is reflecting coach Colin Miller’s mantra of hard work, fitness and dedication.

“The coach, he’s a great coach. There is a lot of competition for spots. I definitely don’t think I can walk into this team and take a spot in the lineup. I have to work very hard, and then I think I have a good chance, as long as I can stay healthy and not get injured. But camp has been very good so far.”

 

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4 Comments

  1. footy

    March 16, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Babayele Sodade got released by Seattle. Woiuldn’t he be a great option to bolster FCE’s attack? What I’ve seen on video from him he looks very talented. I hope that he at least gets picked up by some NASL team this season.

    Reply

  2. BCM

    March 14, 2013 at 4:20 am

    I’m shocked Edmonton had the highest payroll in the league. With attendance levels where it is, seems like poor economics at best and reckless at worst.

    Reply

  3. @Stouffvillain

    March 13, 2013 at 5:01 am

    Is this the same Massimo Mirabelli that was with SC Toronto in the CSL?

    Reply

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