New Eddies get acclimated to life in the NASL By Steven Sandor Posted on August 1, 2012 0 0 455 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Brazilian striker Julio Cesar da Silva Rodrigues trained for the first time with FC Edmonton Wednesday, and the early reviews are good. The product of the Palmeiras youth system is officially a trialist, even though the NASL team has already got paperwork done to ensure that if he does sign, that he would be eligible to play this season. Michael Nonni, the Vancouver native and former University of California-Santa Barbara product, did not train with the first team Wednesday, but is expected to make an appearance with the reserve team when it plays Scottish Wednesday night on Edmonton’s south side. The Brazilian, speaking in Portuguese with teammate Fabien Vorbe translating his words into English, said he is excited for the chance to play soccer on another continent. “I got the opportunity to play in another country; I had the chance to come here, and I thought, ‘why not?’” said Julio Cesar da Silva Rodrigues. And, if he is signed, when would he be fit to play? “It depends on the paperwork,” he said. “Once I get my papers I can get into the games, because I feel good.” Julio Cesar da Silva Rodrigues Of course, FCE fans know that it won’t be the Canadian paperwork that would present the issues; it will be U.S. immigration, which a player needs to go on road trips. It took months for Chilean forward Yashir Pinto to get clearance to play in the U.S. this past spring. “I can help the team in multiple ways, by scoring goals and I am good passer,” he said. (By the way, Vorbe deserves the nickname “United Nations.” Not only is the Haitian the only FCE player who can converse with the new Brazilian in his native Portuguese, Vorbe also speaks English, French, Spanish and Creole.) While Julio Cesar da Silva Rodrigues was getting used to his new surroundings, Scottish defender David Proctor, who made his NASL debut on the recent two-game trip which saw Edmonton beat Atlanta but lose to Tampa Bay, gave his review of the play. Proctor, who came to Edmonton from Inverness Caledonian Thistle of the Scottish Premier League, signed with the Eddies days before the team left for Atlanta. He appeared as a sub in the win over Atlanta and started on the back line in the 1-0 loss to the Rowdies. “The heat was the biggest thing,” he said. He’s worked with the physios to know how to keep hydrated, to play through a humid North American summer rather than a blustery Scottish winter. “The pace of the (NASL) game was inevitably slightly slower than Scotland. And that was mostly because of the heat.” But, even though he’s the new guy, Proctor was bitterly disappointed that the team didn’t get more out of the road trip. “We went down for the two games with the goal of getting at least four points,” he said. “We ended up getting a win and a loss. It was disappointing; because of our position (seventh in the NASL table, eight points out of a playoff spot) we have to win as many games as we can.” The feeling at training is this: FCE finishes with seven of its last 10 games at home. If it can win six of those home games, it can make up the gap and be a playoff team. But, remember, this is a team that has won just two home games so far this season; winning six of seven would mean a massive change in form. Ilja Van Leerdam was on the sidelines for practice, as he still nurses an injured MCL. Goalkeeper Lance Parker said he is “100 per cent” recovered from a groin injury and is ready to go Saturday against Minnesota — a game that will be carried live on CBC Alberta north of Red Deer at 7 p.m. local time. That means coach Harry Sinkgraven has an interesting choice on his hands; go back to Parker, or stick with Canadian keeper John Smits, who has been FCE’s best player over the last month.