Jump to content

Pro soccer has future in Edmonton

Recommended Posts

Pro soccer has future


By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

August 23, 2004

Pro soccer should make some kind of return to Edmonton. It's just a matter of whether the women's team will go it alone or if a men's squad will be resurrected one more time.

Joe Petrone, the man behind loading up the onfield personnel of the Edmonton Aviators/FC, figures there's no doubt the W-League entry, which finished a promising third in the Western Conference in its inaugural season, will kick up its heels again in 2005. As for the men's team, which was decimated by ownership's abandonment at mid-season, the future is far less certain. Run properly, Petrone believes yet another try for soccer in this city is worth some effort.

"If we were at Clarke Park with an operating budget of $700,000-800,000 and keep within our means on the player side of things (about $240,000 in salaries), it could work," said Petrone. "It would be a disaster not to have a team here.''

Tops on Petrone's wish list of making soccer a go once more is for Mel Kowalchuk to get back into the game. Kowalchuk and backer Dan Orlich will run Edmonton's Northern League baseball team upon its arrival next summer and have expressed an interest in the women's soccer team.

"Mel is absolutely the man who can make it happen," said Petrone of the former GM of the indoor Drillers. "Mel is the guy I would prefer to run the team and I've spoken about him to the league. We've never spoken about the men's team but he's the guy who can make the other side of soccer - the marketing side - the success it has to be here."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All future owners of any football club in Canada should have to be

be approved by the CSA, making sure they find quality owners instead

of the fly by night operators, yes Edmonton would make a good home

for a team. Where is the Canadian League the CSA has always talked


Link to comment
Share on other sites

PLus beggars can't be choosers. if we limited it to owners on stable financial grounds we wouldn't have anyone stepping forward. Gotta remember its only recently the two most stable teams this side of the border got their houses in order.

Plus it aint just the canadian side that has issues with sketchy owners and business plans.

Problem is you just don't have a lot of people in Canada willing to put big bucks into it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:Originally posted by JackNorth

if we limited it to owners on stable financial grounds we wouldn't have anyone stepping forward. Gotta remember its only recently the two most stable teams this side of the border got their houses in order.

Problem is you just don't have a lot of people in Canada willing to put big bucks into it.

Have to disagree. I think that the opposite can also be true. as long as ther are sketchy owners around, you scare away the well funded and credible owners. Not to mention the poor Public relations that are cause when teams appear and disappear. There are two ownership groups in the league that are very credible and reputable in the business community. And it shows in the number of fans that show up to see those teams. Its also easier ( when you have these type of owners) to get the ear of public officials when it come to issues regarding facilities.

Sketchy owners ( as you called it) goes to heart of what has plagued pro soccer in canada for a long time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the latest news from Edmonton. I really hope that they are able to salvage the franchise.

Really, it wasn't that bad

Players saying they'd return if chance came

By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

August 24, 2004

For all the blundering and ineptitude that will forever be linked to another failed soccer venture in Edmonton, there seems to be enough support out there to give it one more go.

Admittedly, Joe Petrone knows people in the community will scoff at the fact that he wants to put together an ownership group keen on keeping the city in the men's professional ranks and then be the man responsible for its operation.

But even after everything that they've been through during the disastrous debut year in the A-League that it was for the Edmonton Aviators/FC, the majority of players seem eager to join in on the quest for new life next season.

"I would love to come back," offered scrappy midfielder Gordon Chin after FC's home schedule concluded last night with a 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Thunder before a chilly mob of about 400 at Foote Field.


"We had great guys on this team, it's a great city and most importantly I got lots of playing time, so it was ideal for me.

"We lost lots of games and had lots of problems with players leaving and coming in but there were ups. The little bits of joy that we had were really great."

FC (4-16-6) will try to elude the Calgary Mustangs for the dishonour of finishing last in the Western Conference during a season-ending road trip through Montreal and Toronto beginning tomorrow.

Edmonton, which trails fellow first-year club Puerto Rico by three points, is also in the hunt for the unofficial Canadian pro title but needs to magically take three points from the East-leading Impact and at least a draw off the Lynx for the Voyageurs Cup crown.

Chin, who will head home to Vancouver next week and perhaps troll for duty on the indoor circuit, feels Edmonton can make soccer work provided new ownership has a much better business plan than the one that failed so miserably with the Aviators.

"You saw what happened with the (FIFA) under-19 women and even with a losing franchise, we still had people coming out and giving us standing ovations," said Chin.

"If you get a winning team here, it can get huge support if it's done the right way."

Edmonton-bred talent Sean Fraser was expecting better things when he latched on to the Aviators' ride.

It didn't turn out well at all and that has somewhat soured him on the pro game, but not enough to give up on his home town.


"I love playing soccer and playing at home is always a good thing and if there is a team here next year and it looks good, there's always a possibility I'll come back," said Fraser, who holds the club lead with four goals and 10 points.

"Things would have to be done different. We'd have to play at better times to be able to get the kids out. The venue, Commonwealth Stadium, was a big issue.

"Foote Field and Clarke Park are smaller and people are closer to the field and it's a better environment.

"We'd be closer to the fans and the people of Edmonton so we're the home team instead of people not even knowing who we are."

Like all his teammates, Liam De Silva saw his contract take a big hit when the United Soccer Leagues took over operation of the franchise when ownership bailed at midseason.

De Silva could certainly put more dough in his pocket getting regular work as a model, but he too would be interested in giving Edmonton another chance.

"It was a disappointing year, no question about it, but next year could be a building block," said the Fort McMurray native.

"You learn from the mistakes. People have learned and they're going to know what to do and what not to do. That's a big thing.

"If it fit my circumstances, sure, why not? I'd come back."

Minnesota (12-9-5) moved into third spot in the Western Conference playoff hunt with the victory.

Chris Brunt scored the winner -- and his first of the season -- with a brilliant redirection off a corner kick from Jeff Matteo in the 56th minute and Johnny Menyongar struck on a penalty kick in the 72nd minute.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's the latest E-mail, coming directly from Tim Holt (Director of Operations).

Hi Luis-

We continue to have conversations with interested parties regarding the men's and women's USL franchise rights in Edmonton. Although no deal is imminent, we will work on finding new ownership for the team(s) up until the time it is necessary to lock in the alignments for the 2005 season later this Fall. We still believe that both men's professional and high-level women's soccer can succeed in Edmonton provided there is well-capitalized & long-term committed ownership, cooperation from the City with regards to an appropriate venue, and professional management of the franchises.

Thanks for your e-mail.

Tim Holt

Director, USL & A-League Operations


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...