The Canadian Premier League (CPL) begins play one month from today (April 27). Our FC Edmonton boys begin their season on May 4th on the road before opening their home slate on Sunday May 12th. Who are some of these young soccer men? Who can we expect to lead the team? The CPL tasked themselves with projecting a “Top 5 in the league” for every position.
Go ahead and snicker at the thought of doing preseason projections to a league that has yet to kick a ball. You name the sport though, each of them has hundreds of writers doing projection articles. The CPL only has a player’s past to review to make their judgements. The “educated” guesses one could make about a players development in an established league are wiped off a table that has not yet been set. So let’s see who the league has as FC Edmonton’s top players! Remember, their words not mine as I’m transitioning from being a non-soccer guy who went to a few games just to listen to the Supporters, to someone who is a season ticket holder there to listen to the Supporters and watch the game.
Right-back - Kareem Moses
Once a central defender, Kareem Moses’s strong, physical presence has him projected to be a top right fullback in this league. The 6-foot-1, former Trinidad and Tobago international’s imposing stature gives FC Edmonton coach Jeff Paulus a strong defensive option some CPL clubs haven’t acquired to this point. At 29 years old, Moses could also emerge as the veteran leader of the Eddies’ backline.
Left full-back - Ramon Soria
Described as the best passing defender in the league by head coach Jeff Paulus, Ramon Soria is expected to be a reliable left-back entering the league’s inaugural season. The Spaniard comes with loads of experience at the USL level. And, at 30 years old, the former Spanish youth international will surely stick out as a positive defensive influence on an Eddies side that promises to be attack-minded.
Defensive midfield - James Marcelin
Dubbed “one of the biggest” signings” in the CPL (so far) by head coach Jeff Paulus, FC Edmonton’s James Marcelin boasts a ton of experience. The 32-year-old Haitian international’s 189 games played across the NASL, USL and MLS leads all CPLers. A steady midfielder who likes to jump into the attack, the former NASL Best XI selection will stand out as a leader for the Eddies in the middle of the park while being relied upon to produce at both ends of the field. Oh, and he famously scored against Brazil.
Right-wing - Randy Edwini-Bonsu
It was homecoming at long last when FC Edmonton announced the signing of Randy Edwini-Bonsu, a wiley and dangerous winger who called Edmonton home in his youth but had never donned the team’s kit in the past. He’s a familiar commodity to Canadian soccer fans, having made 10 appearances for the national team. Edwini-Bonsu returns to Canada after spending the last nine years in Germany, and brings with him all the characteristics that made him a standout in his earlier days – a nose for goal, blistering pace, and a penchant for burning his marker on the turn.
Strikers - Tomi Ameobi
The definition of a handful, Tomi Ameobi combines size and mobility to such an extent he’s hellish for defenders to deal with for 90 minutes. The well-travelled striker is back with FC Edmonton after a move to FC Cincinnati provided an outlet while the Eddies prepared for a move to the Canadian Premier League. The 30-year-old Englishman-turned-Canadian Resident scored in roughly one-quarter of his appearances for the previous iteration of FC Edmonton. He also brings a high level of professionalism after trudging through the English football system before finding a home in Alberta. What makes Ameobi so dangerous is his ability to hurt teams in the penalty area and on the turn. He’s a dual-threat to dash into the channels and latch onto anything played into the box. He might be the purist No. 9 in the league.
The Eddies did not rank in 5 categories including goalkeeper. When I posted the CPL’s goalie specific article on Twitter this was the response I got from one of the co-hosts of the Loyal Company of the River Valley Podcast:
Take it with a grain of salt. We typically produce a lot of quality keepers in this country. Our keepers are young with limited resumes so everyone is going to sleep on them, which I’m fine with.
— Adam 🥃 (@_adamdh) March 16, 2021
Yes, always take all preseason projections with a grain of salt. Well, maybe except for Moses, Soria, Marcelin, Edwini-Bonsu and Ameobi. The one thing projections cannot account for are intangibles associated with a group of adults being forced to work together. Seems the Eddies have a head start in that department.
This teamwork is in no way imposed by Coach @jeff_paulus 😆(he gave a surprise contribution for our bill tho) But seriously, camping then this? We can’t get enough of each other #ClingyMuch #FamilyByChoice #TeamworkAllDayEveryday #FCEd #CanPL #YEG pic.twitter.com/Apupcnic5d
— Yongchan Son 손용찬 (@son_yongchan) March 23, 2021
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