Midfielder Granitto had options in Serie A and MLS, but chose FC Edmonton By Steven Sandor Posted on February 24, 2015 8 0 645 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter 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.