Home CONCACAF Midfielder Granitto had options in Serie A and MLS, but chose FC Edmonton

Midfielder Granitto had options in Serie A and MLS, but chose FC Edmonton


In the autumn of 2014, Tomas Granitto had options. He had a pre-contract offer from Palermo of Italy’s Serie A. He had just auditioned for FC Dallas of MLS, and had an offer to attend training camp with that team in 2015.

But he also had interest from FC Edmonton of NASL. And, he decided to go that route.

“I knew that this would be the best choice for me,” says the central midfielder after the Eddies wrap up their second-day of on-field training at the Commonwealth Recreation Centre. “I knew that I could come in here and help the team out right away, to be a great support for the team.”

In 2013, El Salvador beat Australia in the group stage of the U-20 World Cup. Granitto was named man of the match. And it was El Salvador’s first World Cup win at any age level — that game announced to the world that the young central midfielder had arrived.

“It was a great feeling to be part of that first win in an actual World Cup, and an honour to be the man of the match of that game,” he says.

So, how did FCE coach Colin Miller get in the offer that won Granitto over? The first thing he had to do was sift through the many audition videos he gets from player agents. Most of them get cursory looks. But he was struck when he saw Granitto in action.

“We get inundated with DVDs from every agent in the world,” says FC Edmonton’s coach. “Every agent in the world has a player he believes is the next Pele, next Beckenbauer. Everyone is Lionel Messi. But as soon as a I saw this player (Granitto), he reminded me of me as a player. He’s a midfielder who can see a pass, he’s a player who is physically fit and can add some steel to the central midfield.”

Tomas Granitto

Granitto comes from a sporting family. He was born in El Salvador to Argentine parents. His father, Gustavo, ran a tennis academy and had been assigned by the International Tennis Federation to Central America to help develop the game there. Granitto lived in El Salvador till he was five, then his family moved to the United States. Granitto would excel at soccer and would play his way onto the roster at Florida Gulf Coast University, and helped that team to its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance.

But it was with the El Salvadorean program where he really caught the attention of scouts, as he was one of the highlights of his birth country’s run at the 2013 U-20 World Cup.

Granitto also holds an Argentine passport — and, because he has U.S. residency, he counts as a domestic on the FCE roster.

And, of course, he loves the game of tennis.

“I’d say it’s my next favourite sport after soccer,” he says. “It has stuck with me, and I love to watch it, especially the Grand Slam events. My favourite player? Roger Federer, to me he is the perfect example of class that a professional athlete needs to have.”

And he says his knowledge and love of tennis has helped make him a better footballer.

“Tennis, it is such a tough game, you have to be so strong mentally. It’s up to you, you have to be able to pick yourself up in the game. And that attitude really helps with my soccer.”

JONKE STILL OUT: Canadian striker Frank Jonke, who missed a significant chunk of the 2014 fall season because of a concussion, hasn’t been on the field for the first two days of Eddies’ training camp.

The issue isn’t his head, though — it’s his stomach.

Miller confirmed that Jonke is now free of any concussion-related symptoms, but has developed a stomach illness which makes it agonizingly painful to eat.

“He’s lost quite a bit of weight,” said the coach.

The illness has now been diagnosed and is being treated, and Miller feels Jonke will soon be cleared to join the team on the field.

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  1. Kahkakew Yawassanay

    February 26, 2015 at 12:57 am

    It had to be about money and only money as I seriously doubt he would have played much if at all with FCD or in Serie A…because if he had that opportunity to play at a higher level he would have taken it over money…..what that says is FCE is paying more for players that are not necessarily worth the price tag..sort of goes with the Fath’s mentality of pay out a lot and they will come..hopefully

  2. left back

    February 25, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    First off…. i am not being ridiculous. Secondly… i understand your argument for Tomas choosing FCE… or maybe it wasn’t his choice. This is the only place he would actually play or sign a contract.

    You have to think though… that FC Edmonton is the last station on the Pro soccer train… and if you have made your way down the line this far… your career may be going off the rails.

    I know Tomas will get a look here at FC Edmonton, maybe a chance to play and maybe prove himself but… sometimes football is about pedigree. Being non european union will hurt his chances but i would think you give it a shot if you have a pre contract offer with Palermo. Even if you get released…. your agent can tell potential employers that you are coming off training with a Serie A team for the last month… which looks good on any resume.

    No disrespect to FCE and the NASL… but there are only a few decent markets in the NASL and Edmonton is not one of them. He went to FGSU so why not a NASL team in Florida? There are a few to choose from.

    Maybe this guy is not that good.

    Anyway… interesting to read that USL has closely aligned themselves with MLS and that can not be good for the NASL. With Canadian MLS teams putting reserve teams in the USL league… it kinda shows that USL is going to edge out NASL for Div 2 hierarchically for the future. NASL look to be a rogue league with USL becoming the stepping stone to MLS. I know that there have been a lot of NASL players that move into the MLS… but that may change as USL comes into closer alignment. When USL gets div 2 status it will be a shot across the bow for NASL and the league may be in jeopardy. Not for the next 5 years but future down the line as soccer grows in north america.

    I don’t want to be a ‘hater’ or down on FC Edmonton… i just have issues with player selection from the beginning and am still bitter that CM has refused to give our local lads a chance…. i remember him saying in a meeting ‘they are not good enough’…. ya… well.. the same was said about Harry Kane from Tottenham…. English coaches saying ‘he is not good enough’…. look at him now… i love when the Spurs sing ‘he is one of our own’ with great pride after Harry scores… brilliant… some players just need a chance.

    • Steven Sandor

      February 25, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Trust me. FC Edmonton is still in top half of NASL when it comes to paying players. There are many markets in NASL considered a step down (financially) from the Eddies.

    • FCE Fan

      February 27, 2015 at 12:05 am

      Not giving Edmonton players a chance??? Hanson Boakai, Mallan Roberts, Sadi Jalali, Allan Zebie, Marko Aleksic, and Christian Kaiswatum… name me another Canadian pro team that has signed that many local players to their first team? Do your research!

      As for the USL, it is now basically a reserve league for the MLS. Not even close to the standard of the NASL and not deserving of Division II status.

  3. BCM

    February 25, 2015 at 12:25 am

    @left back Don’t be ridiculous.

    Edmonton was an offer to play, for money. Dallas was an extended trial which could have left him out of contract at a point where most teams have filled the roster. As for Palermo, guessing it was nowhere near EURO2000 a week or he would not be in Edmonton. My guess, six months on reserve terms. Now, he can stay close to home (in US) and get first team football. Decision not looking so silly now is it?

    • Steven Sandor

      February 25, 2015 at 2:46 am

      As well, while his Argentine passport would help, he doesn’t have an EU passport at the moment. Which is another hurdle to get across. And, while Tomas told me it wasn’t really in the forefront, MLS may not start on time this season. There is an air of uncertainty because of the CBA situation.

  4. left back

    February 24, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    I love these articles when i read them….

    this guy had a contract offer in Serie A on the island of Sicily and in the beautiful city of Palermo… also…. had a chance to go to the main camp with FC Dallas… but…. for SOME reason… he comes to Edmonton.

    Is it the field turf? The 900 people who come to the games? The fact that all NASL players are on huge money? Or is it the weather? Maybe this guy has a burning desire to go to Vancouver and play against UBC pre season?

    I am not sure what the final straw was on the decision to come to this great city over Dallas or Palermo but… the choice to play against Inter Milan, Seattle Sounders or the Ottawa Fury… to be paid $1500 / month Canadian, $60 000 / year US in MLS or possibly 2000 Euro per week if on the books with Palermo….. ???

    I read these articles and get a good kick out of them… it is hard to take seriously? Isn’t it?

    • Steven Sandor

      February 24, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      As he said, it was about the chance to be on a team where he could contribute right away. He knows that if he goes somewhere else, there could be years of developmental football, or a ticket to the USL.

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