With three more players signed this past week, FC Edmonton is now up to 16 officially signed players. Let’s review last week’s signings per their Twitter announcements:
The Canadian Premier League (CPL) has a roster maximum of 23. Simple mathematics show the Eddies only have 7 available spots remaining. The graphic used at the top of this article, provided by Martikinen Sugar Fingers Siembiwskiey, shows the common fan like myself how the roster has shaped up thus far.
It is important to remind everyone that while we stare at these names on the graphic and discuss who should stay and who should go, these names are human beings. That said you can’t help but notice there is a gap in the team’s mid-field. To address these topics, I reached out to former FC Edmonton General Manager and Coach Jeff Paulus for his insight.
Q) Mr. Paulus, can you please speak of the experience of signing a new player knowing it would cost another player his spot? Speak to the negotiation process with a player over and above what we normally hear about (money/term):
The issue around player movement is as difficult in the professional game as it was with U13s. You are dealing with people, and in this case, dealing with somebody’s career, so these decisions are always difficult.
I think the biggest thing to remind those on the outside making their opinions known publicly about players, or club signings is that not every player is going to be a fit with every manager. Signings are always made with the best intentions but at every level of the game you see some that do not work out. More often than not this has more to do with the fit between two people or a fit into a playing style than it does about the ability of a player.
The process itself in signing a player is of course more difficult in the CPL than it was in the NASL because of the salary cap. Outside of the money and term, the other factors have to be accommodations, the city itself that a player wants or does not want to live in, and of course personality.
In the CPL many players are also looking for opportunities outside of football, whether that be school or work so these are also considerations. The relationship not only with the manager but how a player will fit in with in with the lads in the locker room. The chemistry in that room is of vital importance.
Q) The Eddies midfield per the unofficial graphic shows our midfielders of Zetterberg and Mortotsi as unsigned. Do you feel one or both will be re-signed, why or why not?
I don’t have an answer as to whether or not either player will be signed, but I can speak towards Edem Mortotsi who I do hope to see re-sign. Injuries have unfortunately limited the impact that Edem has been able to make in the Eddies kit to date.
In my opinion, there is not currently another central mid in the CPL that shares his complete skill set of passing ability with both feet, and an ability to dominate through the dribble. Everyone remembers Prince Amanda’s debut goal in 2019 but watch the dribble by Edem just prior to that! I no longer work or speak for FC Edmonton so this is just my opinion in that a healthy Edem Mortotsi can start for any team in this league.
Q) The other obvious position per the roster chart that has not been addressed shows Aleman, Son and Doe as unsigned. What’s your take on how the this situation unfolds?
When looking at any of the unsigned players the key is first knowing how you want to play, then finding players who can fit that. I know from his past coaching experiences that Alan likes a 4-2-3-1 so the first things fans can look at is the current roster of signed players, predict how they fit into that system then make assumptions on what players will be coming back.
There are of course many factors for players out of contract so often a player’s return is out of the hands of the club and it really goes back to square one in the recruiting process. Based on that, I will leave the speculation on those players to everyone else.
Fantastic insight, thank you Jeff.
As the Eddies new management do their best to put together the 2021 roster, let’s as fans do our best to bend the Covid curve back to a point where we can all congregate at Clarke Stadium to watch our Eddies live.