Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Smits, Jonke among the five players released by FC Edmonton

Smits, Jonke among the five players released by FC Edmonton


Just before Sunday’s season finale against Jacksonville, FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller said he’d made up his mind about five players who were going to be released from the club at the end of the season.

On Wednesday, the team revealed the identity of those players who have been released; Canadian goalkeeper John Smits, Canadian striker Frank Jonke, defender Kareem Moses and midfielders Tomas Granitto and Thiago de Freitas.

Smits won the NASL Golden Glove Award last year, for having the league’s best goals-against average. He lost the starting job to Matt VanOekel at the start of the season. But Smits was loaned out to the Montreal Impact to serve as a back-up keeper for CONCACAF Champions League matches. He was given the chance to reclaim the Eddies’ No. 1 job but, in the team’s final game of the spring season, a 3-0 loss to the Indy Eleven, he was substituted out at half time and was relegated to the role of No. 3 keeper.

In two years with FC Edmonton, Jonke failed to score a goal in regular-season play.

John Smits in action in the 2015 Amway Canadian Championship against Ottawa. PHOTO: STEVE KINGSMAN/CANADA SOCCER
John Smits in action against Ottawa. PHOTO: STEVE KINGSMAN/NASL

Moses was a fan favourite but was part of a back line that gave up the most goals in the NASL spring season. He’s also struggled with injuries through 2015.

Both Granitto and de Freitas made their FC Edmonton debuts in 2015; despite showing real promise, both had their campaigns derailed by injuries.

In a release, Miller confirmed that 13 players are on the roster for 2016, and negotiations are underway with seven others. Of course, key in that group is left winger Lance Laing, who was the team’s sparkplug this season. Laing missed about a third of the season due to Jamaican national team duty, and the Eddies won just once without him. As well, captain Albert Watson and Daryl Fordyce will need new deals.

“I’ve never been a manager who wanted to reinvent the wheel and start from scratch again,” Miller said. “I think that would be quite foolish with our strong group of core players. Our job in the off-season is to bring in players that will add genuine quality to the group that is currently here.”

Current FC Edmonton 2016 Roster:
Matt VanOekel, Tyson Farago
Mallan Roberts, Marko Aleksic, Allan Zebie, Johann Smith
Cristian Raudales, Michael Nonni, Ritchie Jones, Pablo Cruz, Dustin Corea
Sadi Jalali, Tomi Ameobi


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  1. Ian

    October 29, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I was surprised about de Freitas – I thought he looked really good (when healthy). Maybe they think injuries will be an ongoing issue. Didn’t see too much of Granitto, but when he played, he fit in (but perhaps didn’t overly stand out). Retaining Boakai and Laing will be the interesting part of the off-season…

  2. Clay

    October 28, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    What about Hanson Boakai?

    • Steven Sandor

      October 29, 2015 at 9:02 am

      His contract term is up, but he’d be one of the seven that team has on its negotiation list.

  3. Flips

    October 28, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Why bring in good young players like Granitto and de Freitas and abandon them after not really giving them many minutes? If they were good enough to go out and get, either play them or keep them.

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