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Trafford, Brown and Ledgerwood impress in Cavalry FC pre-season

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Cavalry FC’s pre-season is progressing well, according to head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. And he believes his players will be ready to entertain and inspire fans when Calgary’s new professional soccer team kicks off its first season in the Canadian Premier League (CPL) in May.

“I’m very impressed with the energy and effort they’ve put towards it and in particularly the quality,” said Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Cavalry FC head coach and general manager, after training session Friday. “We’re going to be a good footballing side.”

Wheeldon has built his roster around a core of players from Calgary Foothills FC’s 2018 Premier Development League championship winning squad, a team he managed.

But he’s also brought in new players, many with professional experience – including Brazilian forward Oliver Minatel, Germany midfielder Julian Büscher and English forward Jordan Brown.

And while he always new what to expect from his Foothills FC graduates, Cavalry FC’s manager has noticed an improvement in quality overall.

Interview with Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

“I was fortunate last year (with Calgary Foothills FC) because we had good group last year. This is another group and we’ve clicked the upgrade button in a few areas.”

“What I’m noticing now is, because we’re hitting into the professional leagues, the guys that are doing their off-season have arrived a lot fitter.”

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As a result, Wheeldon admits that he and his staff have had to make some adjustments to the training tempo during the first two weeks pre-season. They’ve increased the difficulty level of the possession and technical drills in order to match the fitness and quality of the club’s players.

“We’ve got to put them into situations that challenge them,” he said.

Trafford, Brown and Ledgerwood impress

And while Wheeldon is pleased with his squad overall, he complimented Mason Trafford, Jordan Brown and Nik Ledgerwood in particular.

Canadian defender Mason Trafford has lived up to Wheeldon’s high expectations in the first two weeks of pre-season.

“I hadn’t worked with Mason Trafford before,” said Wheeldon. “He’s come in and shown the quality he is. I said when I signed him, he’s one of the best left-sided defenders in the country. And I stand by that now, having worked with him and having seen him as a player and got to work with him as a human being. I think he’ll be leader of men. I think he’ll be an important piece of our puzzle today and moving forward.

English forward, and Arsenal and West Ham youth product, Jordan Brown has apparently already shown an eye for goal.

“I like the look of Jordan Brown,” said Wheeldon. “Jordan Brown looks your typical poacher. He likes to play off the shoulder. He likes to get in behind. He likes to take his chances when they come to him.”

Veteran raising everyone’s game

And Canadian international veteran midfielder Nik Ledgerwood has already begun to prove his worth to the squad.

“It’s always nice to see someone like Nik Ledgerwood,” said Wheeldon. “He’s not here to wind down his clock. He’s here to wind it up and to set a precedent. I know he wants to be one of the best, most impactful players in the league. When guys like that are bringing in the quality, everybody else starts stepping up. It’s been really good to see.”

Cavalry FC will continue its pre-season training in Calgary through to the end of the March. the club will then travel to Dominican Republic April 4 for warm weather training other CPL teams.

Cavalry FC will play its first match of the Canadian Premier League season against York9 FC at Spruce Meadows May 4, 2019.


The Canadian Premier League is a new professional soccer league set to kick off in April 2019. Cavalry FC is Calgary’s club and will play its home games at Spruce Meadows. Season tickets are available for purchase. Single game and multi-game pack tickets are expected to be available soon.

 

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Stuart Gradon

Editor of Total Soccer Project | Photographer and Writer | Stuart Gradon is soccer journalist and multimedia professional, having worked at 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. He covers Cavalry FC and Canadian Premier League.

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