FC Edmonton Vital for Canadian Soccer

FC Edmonton, with its humble setup, is exactly what Canadian soccer needs more of
by Henrik Lonne   |   Thursday, December 20, 2012

Made in Canada - coverage of the Canadian MLS, NASL & USL Clubs, CSL, PCSL, Canadian Championship & Canada National Teams

I’m in a rather cheery mood, and because of that, I’m going for the positive stories, and one of those positive stories is about FC Edmonton.

While Edmonton, which finished last in the NASL with five wins and an average attendance of 1.577 per league game, might not sound envious to many, there are great things to find with the club’s setup.

Less than a month ago, the club hired former Canadian international Colin Miller to replace Dutchman Harry Sinkgraven, which means finally a Canadian coaching a professional soccer club again, after Nick Dasovic’s interim stint at Toronto FC in 2010 and the Montreal Impact trio of John Limniatis, Marc dos Santos and Nick DeSantis in the 2000s.

The Canadian MLS teams haven’t shown a willingness to give a Canadian coach an opportunity to take charge of their team. Because of this, it’s important to have these lower division teams so that Canadian coaches get a chance to lead a squad. The same thing can be said for Canadian players, who's chances have been limited in MLS.

It’s of vital importance to have Canadian-based lower league teams – especially after the Whitecaps and the Impact moved to MLS – in order to bridge the gap between youth, amateur and professional careers.

With a Canadian coach, a majority of Canadian players and even several Albertans, FC Edmonton has shown willingness to bridge this gap.

In 2014, we will see the Ottawa Fury join FC Edmonton in the NASL and, hopefully, also join them in developing talent both on and off the field. The opportunity itself is important, even if the players and coaches never reach higher levels of soccer. The young players and coaches need to see the possibility of a career for them to actually go ahead and make an attempt.

Soccer is progressing in Canada, but more needs to be done if Canada is to live up to the potential that is there. Three MLS team and two NASL teams aren’t enough.

Back in October 2011, the Canadian Soccer Association commissioned a study of the viability of a second division in Canada. We haven’t seen the results yet, but hopefully it will soon be released and lead to another professional soccer league in Canada and a drastic increase in the options for Canadians in soccer.

Henrik LONNE

Copenhagen Business School
Club Domestic:
AGF Aarhus
Club Foreign:
Toronto FC
Born and raised in Denmark, the US performance in the 2002 World Cup dragged Henrik into the world of North American soccer. Subsequent trips to Canada made him a Toronto FC fan from abroad. The passion he now has for MLS outshines most European leagues.