Home Canadian Premier League CanPL News and Notes NASL veterans, returnees highlight FCE’s five new signings

NASL veterans, returnees highlight FCE’s five new signings

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FC Edmonton announced the signings of five players on Thursday, three of them who have worn FCE colours in the NASL — veteran striker Tomi Ameobi, local midfielder Edem Mortotsi and defender Kareem Moses.

Moses will bring his familiar exuberance, and dance moves, back the Clarke Stadium.

Also joining the Eddies are former Belgian U-17 striker Oumar Diock, now 24 years of age, who will look to kickstart his career in Canada.

Diock was recommended to FC Edmonton coach Jeff Paulus by former Eddies Pape Diakite.

“This is a a player who needs a fresh start, a new beginning,” said Paulus.

And, Spanish defender Ramon Soria, who played 71 career NASL game in Ottawa and Puerto Rico, will wear Eddies’ blue in 2019. Soria was the first defender signed by the Fury (back in December of 2013) after the club joined the NASL.

Before making the deal, Paulus said he spoke for an hour with Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos, who was running the Fury’s program when Soria was brought to the NASL.

“There was no defender in NASL who passed the ball as well as him over the three years he spent in the league,” said Paulus. “There isn’t going to be a defender in the league who has his technical ability.”

Moses played 47 games for the Eddies over the course of the  2014 and ‘15 seasons. The Trinidad and Tobago player was originally recommended to FC Edmonton by Stephen Hart, now the coach of the Halifax Wanderers.

Paulus said, of the foreigners brought into the team, he wants players who understand the travel rigours of a Canadian league and the challenges of the climate. He said he wants players who are comfortable on artificial turf. And he wants players he knows are “top-quality characters.” He said the fact that Dos Santos was able to lead the San Francisco Deltas to the 2017 NASL championship, even though the team was financially doomed, showed what can happen when a dressing room comes together.

As well as being a versatile player who can play in a variety of formations, Moses offers that character, and Paulus knows full well that the defender was a fan favourite in his previous stint in Edmonton.

Ameobi scored 21 goals in 95 games for the Eddies over the course of four NASL seasons. With five goals, Ameobi is tied for second all-time in Canadian Championship scoring — since the national Cup title adopted the tournament format, that is. He will have the chance to surpass Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco, who leads with six goals, this season.

Mortotsi appeared in 12 career NASL games with the Eddies. His signing was completed a couple of months ago, and he’s already been training and doing gym sessions with the team, as coach Jeff Paulus looks to give his side as much of an early start as possible.

With so many players from the Edmonton area, among them former Academy teammates, Mortotsi doesn’t feel like a new signing.

“The chemistry between us is really easy,” he said.

Mortotsi is 25, which will make him one of the elder statesmen on the team — and that means he sees himself taking more of a mentorship role with the younger players and Academy members than he did when he was part of the NASL Eddies.

“I’m older now. I’m more experienced,” he said. “And I can bring that and help with the younger players on the team.”

Mortotsi played for FCE at Commonwealth Stadium in a Canadian Championship match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, and he said he can’t wait to get an opportunity to play in that tournament again.

For more on Ameobi’s return to the Eddies, stay tuned to CanPL.ca for a profile on the veteran’s decision to come back to Edmonton.

 

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