Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton NASL Commissioner David Downs in Edmonton to meet with Mayor Stephen Mandel

NASL Commissioner David Downs in Edmonton to meet with Mayor Stephen Mandel

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NASL Commissioner David Downs will arrive in Edmonton Wednesday night, ahead of a Thursday meeting with city officials, including Mayor Stephen Mandel and City Manager Simon Farbrother.

Downs said that the meeting was set up by FC Edmonton general manager Tom Leip.

“I think my role will be to remind people how much Tom (FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath) and the Eddies have put into the community,” said Downs from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, as he waited for a connecting flight to the Alberta Capital.

But Downs said he has an inkling that the issue of a stadium might come up.

The NASL/City of Edmonton meeting comes at an interesting time, just days after Oilers’ owner Daryl Katz met with city council, stating that a deal for a proposed new arena for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers can’t be done for the original $450 million estimate. The city has committed $100 million to that project, but ahas balked at the idea of offering more.

The Eddies moved to the 1,200-seat Clarke Stadium this year. Before the 2012 season, the team announced plans to expand the facility to a capacity of nearly 5,000, with addition of new stands and a beer garden and family area. But, as the season progressed, the stands never went up. The team later admitted that there were issues with getting Code approval for the temporary stands in Alberta. But, despite the team’s on-field struggles in 2013 — the team currently occupies the NASL cellar — crowds were regularly announced at numbers much higher than capacity.

FC Edmonton would love to see Clarke Stadium be just a temporary fix, though. The long-term goal is to see a soccer-specific stadium built in the city, an initiative that Mayor Mandel has publicly stated that he supports.

Downs won’t be the only member of the NASL brass in town. On Saturday, NASL Board of Directors Chair Aaron Davidson, along with Alberta Soccer Association Executive Director Richard Adams and FC Edmonton owners Tom and Dave Fath will host a meeting with members of the city’s soccer community to discuss pro soccer in Canada and the province’s long-term development plan.

Davidson will also be at Sunday’s NASL regular-season finale between the Eddies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Clarke Stadium.

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