FC Edmonton’s roster for the upcoming Canadian Premier League season is beginning to take on a definite local flavour. Currently, more than half the squad is from the Edmonton area.
As a result, FC Edmonton is looking more and more like a club the city can be proud of.
Local talent a priority for FC Edmonton coach
And this is all part of the plan, according to FC Edmonton’s head coach.
“This is a team that I want to go local and have a large contingent of Edmontonians and give them a chance to play professional football,” said FC Edmonton head coach Jeff Paulus in a recent interview aired on OneSoccer. “It’s a philosophy I still believe in.”
One of the objectives of the Canadian Premier League is to promote and help Canadian players hone their skills in a domestic league all their own. But, FC Edmonton has gone one step further by having a large group of Edmontonians on the roster.
FC Edmonton has, at the time of writing, 13 of 22 roster spots occupied by players who were either born or grew up in the city and surrounding area. The list includes Connor James, Easton Ongaro, Marcus Veledo-Tsegaye, Ajay Khabra, and most notably Canadian international defender Amer Didic.
This is a testament to the talent hidden in the city.
Opportunity for FC Edmonton to attract fans
But it’s also an opportunity for FC Edmonton to court fans and try and convince them this club is not going fail as previous pro soccer efforts have done in Edmonton.
The local player aspect can be a selling point for tickets as Edmonton is a city that is proud of people born in Edmonton or who come in and choose to be part of the community.
The team has proven it has the ability to be a big part of the community. After home games, the club has an autograph session that allows young players and fans an opportunity to get to know the players on a more personal level and grow the soccer community.
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This local player strategy can also give young players a tangible goal to strive for. They can dream of playing for the hometown team like the players they meet at those sessions and in turn help the team get better over time.
It shows that FC Edmonton are willing to commit to local Edmontonian players and truly give local players the opportunity to show their skills on the biggest stages, especially if FC Edmonton were to qualify for Concacaf league and/or Concacaf Champions League in the coming years.
It is a great time to be around Edmonton soccer.