FC Edmonton is a Canadian professional soccer club based in Edmonton, Alberta. The club has competed in the Canadian Premier League since the league's inaugural season in 2019. The club previously competed in the North American Soccer League (NASL) from 2011 to 2017, then went on hiatus when NASL ceased competitive operations before the cancelled 2018 season. From 2012 onward, FC Edmonton's home field has been Clarke Stadium.
|Full name||FC Edmonton|
|Founded||February 9, 2010|
(NASL franchise founded)
June 8, 2018
|Owner||The Fath Group|
|Head coach||Jeff Paulus|
|League||Canadian Premier League|
|Spring 2019||Canadian Premier League, 3rd|
In February 2010, FC Edmonton was launched by brothers Tom Fath and Dave Fath as founding members of the North American Soccer League. The club spent the first year playing exhibition matches against teams including Colo Colo, the Spokane Spiders and Vitória, with a squad mostly represented by Albertan college students and amateur players. The team also played an honorary match against the Canadian Armed Forces on Canada Day in July.
In December 2010, head coach Dwight Lodeweges and his assistant Hans Schrijver left the club before competing in a professional game to take a job in Japan. He was replaced by fellow Dutchman Harry Sinkgraven shortly after.
North American Soccer League (2011–2017)Edit
On April 9, 2011, the team played its first competitive game and recorded a 2–1 victory against Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Alberta-native Shaun Saiko scored the first goal in the club's history. Edmonton finished their inaugural season in fifth out of eight teams and qualified for the 2011 NASL Playoffs quarterfinals, but were knocked out in a 5–0 defeat against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Schrijver returned to the club as assistant head coach for the 2012 season, but just five wins from 28 games finished the club at the bottom of the table. In September 2012, both Sinkgraven and Schrijver were released due to the bad results. On November 27, Colin Miller was named as the club's new head coach.
The club saw slight improvement during Miller's first year in charge, finishing fifth in the spring season before slipping to seventh in the fall season. However, the 2014 season saw considerable improvement for the club. After struggling at ninth in the spring season, Edmonton recorded their best ever league finish at third place during the fall season.
The 2015 season brought a similar scenario for the club. After a 10th-place finish in the spring season, the Eddies bounced back to finish fifth in the fall season, missing a playoff position by just four points. Edmonton improved further for the 2016 season, finishing third in both the spring and fall seasons. The club missed out on topping the spring season table by a single point after both Indy Eleven and the New York Cosmos recorded 18 points.
FC Edmonton returned to its former ways during the 2017 season and struggled to seventh-placed finishes in both the spring and fall seasons. On November 24, 2017, the club ceased professional operations citing the sustainability of the team and "continuous uncertainty being forced upon the NASL by the United States Soccer Federation". FC Edmonton continued to run their academies in hope of re-establishing the professional team at a later date.
Canadian Premier League (2018–)Edit
On June 5, 2018, it was announced that the newly-formed Canadian Premier League had approved the City of Edmonton for a professional club to compete in the league. Three days later, FC Edmonton announced their return to professional soccer. As well as confirming their place in the league for the 2019 season, the club revealed a new crest and branding.
- Foote Field; Edmonton, Alberta (2011)
- Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton, Alberta (2011–2013) three games (one per season) in Canadian Championship
- SMS Equipment Stadium, Fort McMurray, Alberta (2015) two games.
- Clarke Stadium; Edmonton, Alberta (2012–2017, from 2019)
The team began playing its home games at Foote Field, a 3,500-seater stadium viewed as the centrepiece of a multi-purpose sports facility on the University of Alberta campus. Initially built as a legacy facility for the 2001 World Championships, it was named after University of Alberta alumnus Eldon Foote, who donated $2 million towards the construction costs.
In 2012, the team moved into Clarke Stadium, the former home of the Edmonton Drillers, the Edmonton Brickmen, and the Edmonton Aviators. The club soon expanded the capacity from 1,200 to over 5,000 with temporary seat-back and bleacher seating, and tried to find a permanent solution to bring the capacity up to 15,000.
Between 2011 and 2013, FC Edmonton played three games at Commonwealth Stadium, a much larger stadium with a capacity of 60,081. Two games were also played at SMS Equipment Stadium in 2015 as an opportunity to increase the club's exposure in Fort McMurray.
To meet the demands of the Canadian Premier League, FC Edmonton asked the City of Edmonton to help increase the capacity at Clarke Field to 7,000. The club cited that "the decision to join will bring in more fans as rivalries between national teams will be much stronger than the club experienced when it was in the North American Soccer League". In June 2018, FC Edmonton announced they would play at Clarke Stadium for the 2019 season, with seating capacity increased to 5,100.
Crest and coloursEdit
The club's original shield was quartered black and blue, fimbriated silver, and bordured white and silver, with a black and white soccer ball in the centre. A partial, stylized red maple leaf in the crest position, and a blue ribbon, bearing the club's name, was placed overall. The club adopted the shade of blue used by City of Edmonton, and the shape of the shield mirrored the municipal coat of arms.
The club relaunched with a new logo to compete in the Canadian Premier League. The shape of shield is unchanged, but the look is completely different. The field is dark blue, with a bend sinister in chief. The main charge is a stylized FCE, that includes representation of the North Saskatchewan River, and the letters double for the club's name and main beliefs, family, courage and energy. The FCE is ensigned by the words FC Edmonton, and 2010 for the year the club was founded, with a single rabbit's foot print in the base between the 20 and 10.
The official club colours are blue, navy and white (branded by the club as "prairie blue sky," "River City navy," and "white rabbit.") These colours symbolize the sky of the Canadian Prairies, the North Saskatchewan River and the Rally Rabbit.
The FC Edmonton Supporters Group was formed in early 2010 by five members of The Voyageurs, a Canadian national team supporters group, in response to the announcement that an Edmonton team would compete in the North American Soccer League in 2011. The group aimed to bring a 'European-style' atmosphere to games in a similar manner to the Red Patch Boys in Toronto and the Vancouver Southsiders. The group folded in September 2018, with the creation of the River Valley Vanguard.
In December 2017, YEG for CPL was created as a group of passionate supporters hoping to persuade the club to join the Canadian Premier League. The group were recognized by owners Tom Fath and Dave Fath, and general manager Jay Ball, as part of the reason the club returned to professional soccer. At his official unveiling as head coach, Jeff Paulus praised the group saying "I'm grateful to the YEG for CPL members and all those who fought to save this club".
In September 2018, after the success of the YEG for CPL campaign, the River Valley Vanguard was created. The new supporters group is headquartered at Edmonton's Old Town Pub.
The Rally Rabbit has been an important part of the club's culture since its inception in 2011. On June 26, the club faced the Montreal Impact at Foote Field before they left the North American Soccer League for Major League Soccer. Kyle Porter opened the scoring in the fifth minute but FC Edmonton looked likely to tire under the pressure of the Impact. In the later stages of the game, a rabbit made its way onto the pitch and sat in front of the Montreal goal. Home supporters cheered for the rabbit and the Edmonton players did not seem bothered, but the visiting team could not stop trying to chase the rabbit off the field. The team failed to regain their focus and FC Edmonton saw out the victory. The rabbit has since made several unscripted appearances and is always welcomed by cheers from the crowd, seen by supporters as a measure of good luck. The Rally Rabbit has also been known as Eddie Bunny or Eddie Jackalope.
During their time in the North American Soccer League, FC Edmonton's main rivalry was with Ottawa Fury, the only other Canadian team competing in the league when they joined in 2014. The meetings between the two sides were named "The Battle of Canada" and occurred in both the league and the Canadian Championship. The two teams met every year in the preliminary round over two legs, with the first ever meeting ending in a goalless draw on April 23, 2014. A week later, FC Edmonton won 3–1 in the home leg with two goals from Daryl Fordyce and one from Hanson Boakai. The first league derby between the two teams took place on May 31, with Ottawa Fury emerging as 1–0 victors after scoring a 90th-minute goal. The second meeting on July 13 saw a goalless draw as Ottawa Fury played with ten men for over 30 minutes, before FC Edmonton recorded their first league victory against the Fury with a 2–0 win on October 18.
In 2011, a rivalry was also formed over the course of the season between FC Edmonton and the NSC Minnesota Stars. In the aftermath of the 2011 Slave Lake wildfire in Alberta, a Minnesota supporters group raised money for affected families. This was reciprocated by an Edmonton supporters group who donated to the American Red Cross after a series of tornadoes which affected Minnesota. These events formed a friendly rivalry between the teams, and the supporters groups created the Flyover Cup. The name was chosen because Edmonton and Minnesota lie in the flight paths of transcontinental flights, but are often passed over by tourists. The symbol of the cup is a loon, being an unofficial national bird of Canada and also the state bird of Minnesota.
In 2018, the FC Edmonton Academy played provincial rivals the Calgary Foothills FC in two friendly games to help them prepare for their upcoming season. The fixtures were also used to gauge Edmonton's interest into a potential return to join the Canadian Premier League. The series was suggested by supporters groups from the two clubs and dubbed "Al Classico", inspired by the El Clásico rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona. The rivalry will continue between FC Edmonton and Cavalry FC when the Canadian Premier League begins in April 2019.
Players and staffEdit
- As of June 15, 2019
Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth.
|7||Midfielder||Son Yong-chan||South Korea|
|12||Defender||Kareem Moses||Trinidad and Tobago|
- As of January 18, 2019
|General manager||Jay Ball|
|Head coach||Jeff Paulus|
|Assistant coach||Sean Fleming|
|Goalkeeping coach||Lars Hirschfeld|
- As of June 15, 2019
|Dwight Lodeweges||March 9, 2010||December 3, 2010||0||0||0||0||—|
|Harry Sinkgraven||December 7, 2010||September 28, 2012||60||15||16||29||25.00|
|Colin Miller||November 27, 2012||November 24, 2017||162||52||43||67||32.10|
|Jeff Paulus||July 3, 2018||present||8||2||1||5||25.00|
- The club ended an eight-month hiatus on June 8, 2018 when it joined the CPL
- Includes regular season, playoff, and Canadian Championship games.
|2013–2016||Albert Watson||Northern Ireland|
When the club competed in the North American Soccer League, FC Edmonton matches were broadcast by a variety of distributors on various formats. Radio commentaries were broadcast on The Team 1260, the local sports radio station, from 2011 to 2013. In 2013, matches were televised on Sportsnet 360. Matches were also previously available to view free through the team's Ustream channel until the introduction of NASL Live, a paid-subscription service, which was subsequently abandoned.
In 2016 and 2017, Canadian viewers could stream matches for free at NASL.com while American viewers required subscriptions to various broadcasters including ESPN3, beIN Sports and the CBS Sports Network. For FC Edmonton's 2019 campaign in the CPL all matches were to be streamed online by One Soccer with select matches being broadcast by or streamed by CBC.
- As of June 30, 2018
|Year||League||GP||W||D||L||GF||GA||Pts||Pos||Playoffs||Canadian Championship||League Attendance||Top Scorer||Ref|
|2012||28||5||10||13||26||36||25||8th||Did not qualify||Semi-finals||1,492||Shaun Saiko||7|||
|2015||30||9||8||13||41||46||35||7th||Semi-finals||3,122|| Lance Laing
|2016||32||15||8||9||25||21||53||3rd||Semi-finals||Preliminary round||2,060||Daryl Fordyce||6|||
|2017||32||7||6||19||25||42||27||7th||Did not qualify||Preliminary round||3,408|| Tomi Ameobi
|2019||CPL||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||TBD||Second qualifying round|
Note: Only league goals counted for top scorer
- As of June 30, 2018
|1||Forward||Daryl Fordyce||Northern Ireland||2013–17||30||0||4||34|
|7||Midfielder||Dustin Corea||El Salvador||2015–17||7||0||1||8|
|Forward||Jake Keegan||United States||2016–17||7||0||1||8|
- As of June 30, 2018
|1||Defender||Albert Watson||Northern Ireland||2013–17||128||1||11||140|
|2||Forward||Daryl Fordyce||Northern Ireland||2013–17||110||1||12||123|
|9||Midfielder||Dustin Corea||El Salvador||2015–17||62||1||4||67|
|10||Forward||Jake Keegan||United States||2016–17||61||1||4||66|
NASL Best XIEdit
|2016||Matt Van Oekel||Goalkeeper|
NASL Player of the MonthEdit
|August||Matt Van Oekel||Goalkeeper|
NASL Young Player of the YearEdit
NASL Golden GloveEdit
|2016||Matt Van Oekel|
- Edmonton Aviators – defunct USL A-League team which played in 2004
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