FC Edmonton drafted midfielder Thomas Gardner and defender Jackson Farmer with the 1st and 16th picks in the 2021 CPL-U SPORTS Draft on Friday. The draftees will be invited to FC Edmonton preseason training with the hope of securing a U Sports development contract for the 2021 season.
The development contract allows a player to retain their U-SPORTS eligibility while signing for a Canadian Premier League team.
With the first overall pick, FC Edmonton picked 22-year-old Thomas Gardner who is a familiar face for Head Coach Alan Koch. In September 2015 Koch, then with Whitecaps FC 2, gave Gardner his professional debut in the United Soccer League (USL) Championship and has 40 career appearances with Whitecaps FC 2 from 2015-2017.
“Tommy is a creative player who we know can play and contribute in the CPL”, said Koch Friday. “Injury and Covid prevented him from playing in the league previously, and we are excited to welcome him to FC Edmonton.
“We are excited to integrate him into our team and work with him to take his game to even higher levels. His quality on the ball and desire to be successful are exactly what we are instilling in our training environment.”
More homegrown talent
And with the 16th overall pick, FC Edmonton picked 25-year-old Edmontonian Jackson Farmer. It’s apick that continues FC Edmonton’s commitment of extending professional playing opportunities to local talent. He will also be familiar with Head Coach Alan Koch from his time playing for Whitecaps FC 2 in 2015-2016 and has 34 career appearances.
“We are excited to welcome Jackson to our club this pre-season and I am happy to be on the pitch with him again”, said Alan Koch, Head Coach. “Jackson is a technically sound defender who has had some exceptional experiences for a young centre back.
“We hope to help him elevate his game in our environment and provide him with another opportunity in the professional game.”