Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton “I want to be part of Alberta soccer, of Canadian soccer, moving forward”: Ledgerwood signs with FC Edmonton

“I want to be part of Alberta soccer, of Canadian soccer, moving forward”: Ledgerwood signs with FC Edmonton

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Nik Ledgerwood felt the time was right to come back home.

If he extended his career in Germany by a few more seasons, he’d be well into his 30s. But, right now, at 30 years of age, he can come to a young team and be both a role model and provide many quality minutes on the pitch.

On Tuesday, FC Edmonton announced that the Lethbridge, Alta.-born midfielder/defender and national team mainstay had inked a deal with the club.

For the better part of the last 14 years, Ledgerwood has played his club football in Germany, most recently with Energie Cottbus. But he really pined to be closer to his family in Alberta — and he’d heard nothing but good things about the NASL from both FCE coach Colin Miller, who spent time as the interim coach of the national side, and national-team midfielder Julian de Guzman, who played for Ottawa last season and will play there again in 2016.

“I think there were a lot of things that came together quite well,” said Ledgerwood over the phone from Lethbridge, where he’s spending time at home and training for the upcoming season. “I’m a family guy. Family is very important to me.” Ledgerwood’s brother lives in Edmonton; his sister lives in Calgary. The fact that they can both regularly make it to Clarke Field to watch games is important to FCE’s newest signing.

“I want to be part of Alberta soccer, of Canadian soccer, moving forward,” said Ledgerwood. “I feel I have a lot more to offer. And, from talking to Colin, I believe that Edmonton is an ambitious club.”

He said that he feels he can be a strong veteran presence for the club; with Edmonton having so many young Canadians in the system, Ledgerwood has a story to which they can relate — a kid from Alberta who ended up having a successful career in Europe.

“I’m willing to help young players, I’m willing to do anything to help the club,” he said.

With JDG giving significant minutes to the national team in 2015 — and, in November’s World Cup qualifier against Honduras, he looked like he’d turned back the clock 10 years — and FCE defender Mallan Roberts getting a cap in a World Cup qualifier in 2015, there is no longer a stigma that the NASL can hold a player back from the national side.

Ledgerwood spoke to JDG about NASL — and JDG was a good ambassador for the league.

“He had good things to say about the clubs and about the league,” said Ledgerwood. “There are some good professional organizations in NASL. It’s an interesting league, I know it has some ambitious plans to expand. And it’s a league that’s been good to Canadians; both Edmonton and Ottawa promote Canadian talent.”

Ledgerwood says the opportunities Canadian players get in Ottawa and Edmonton simply don’t happen with the Canada-based MLS sides.

“It’s always been that way with MLS clubs in Canada. There could be opportunities for Canadians in MLS but it just doesn’t happen. But it’s a league that’s linked with U.S.”

While Ledgerwood has played fullback many times for the Canadian national team, it looks as if FCE will utilize him as a holding midfielder, where he generally spends his time as a professional. But, Ledgerwood offers versatility to the club. It also needs to be said that right back Eddie Edward also came in and did a good job at the holding midfield spot late in the 2015 season.

“When I became interim head coach of the Canadian national team I had the chance to get to know Nik that little bit better,” FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller was quoted in a release issued by the club. “He was one that was so reliable and we will look at him to be a central midfield player for us. Nik will give us experience, he will give us tenacity and he will raise the bar in terms of the level of professionalism.”

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9 Comments

  1. Tim

    January 14, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    “Ledgerwood says the opportunities Canadian players get in Ottawa and Edmonton simply don’t happen with the Canada-based MLS sides.”.

    Of course there are more opportunities for Canucks in NASL. It is a lower level. It is much easier to break into a D2 side than a D1 side.

    Now compare the USL teams and NASL. That would be a better comparison.

    • Steven Sandor

      January 15, 2016 at 8:59 am

      It’s actually not a good comparison because they treat Canadian players differently. In USL, Canadians are domestics league wide; in NASL, they are only domestics on the two Canadian teams.

  2. James

    January 12, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Great news. This guy has a ton of experience. Stunning that the Canadian MLS clubs pass on this player. If he were American, I have no doubt he’d get a look. Whatever the case, I’m thrilled he’s playing for the eddies. Likely a bigger paycheque than the one he’d get in the MLS anyway.

    • TR M

      January 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Salary cap league with little value to the US based teams trade wise due to his international designation. We don’t know if the 3 Canadian MLS teams passed on him or if he was asking too much etc etc.

  3. left back

    January 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Good for Nik to come back to Edmonton after all those years abroad… i will have to disagree with what is being said about the NASL… the league looks really fragile… Atlanta has shut up shop and joined USL… SA Scorpions have suspended play… Puerto Rico Islanders are a mess…. there will be a battle between USL and NASL and since USL is in alignment with MLS… i thinik they will attract teams that want to be part of that league… The NASL is kind of a rogue league and i don’t see it growing and becoming a league that has a future…. hope i am wrong but…

    • Nathan (Loyal Co of the River Valley)

      January 13, 2016 at 9:08 am

      I don’t know about that. Atlanta was league owned, and the rest of the clubs paid (a LOT) to field them in 2015. Better for the stability of the league (especially Edmonton and Ottawa with the dollar) to have ATL close up shop and at least take a year off while looking for better ownership. San Antonio has been a D3 (maybe D4) club operating in D2 for a bit. Again, better for the NASL (in my opinion) to be out of the league than to have to carry a weak club on its shoulders. Puerto Rico FC (not the old Islanders btw) isn’t joining until the Fall season, so I’m not surprised to hear nothing out of them… yet. They’ll get there.
      For the record I’m not saying that the NASL is rosy and growing by leaps and bounds over the MLS. However, things aren’t as bad as some make it out to be. There’s 3 new clubs this year, and even though two clubs have left, there’s two new clubs starting in the spring. Status Quo for now, and there are ALL kinds of rumors about expansion coming soon (Chicago is confirmed as a bid now, San Fran is all but a lock, as well as more Cali expansion). Seeing owners like Miami is WAY more stable than Atlanta or San Antonio. My 2 cents.

      • left back

        January 13, 2016 at 3:49 pm

        Nathan…. ok… maybe there are teams entering into the NASL… but as far as Edmonton is concerned… not the right teams… Puerto Rico, Miami and Oklahoma… in the next year… Edmonton needs teams in the Western part of the country to enter into the league and Miami and Puerto Rico are almost as far as one would be willing to travel…. the expense is huge and it is a long way to go… best case scenario for Edmonton… Calgary, Tacoma and a Northern California team enter… along with maybe a franchise in Nevada or Idaho… then there could be a Western conference… and that would work for FC Edmonton… adding teams in wrong geographical areas is nothing but a head ache for us…. plus the sinking dollar…. plus the terrible facility we have… plus the fact that we are invisible in this town…. other than that… ya… things look great…. 😉

  4. Steedman

    January 12, 2016 at 11:53 am

    ” there is no longer a stigma that the NASL can hold a player back from the national side.” This kills me, as the only World Cup team that Canada has fielded, was comprised of mostly NASL side players.

    • cookie

      January 15, 2016 at 11:29 am

      that was a different NASL – top tier in North America vs 2nd or 3rd tier now.

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