In a purely 'scoreboard' sense, then, Edmonton's season was only marginally more successful than their eastern league-mates. After a fast start, the Eddies tailed off and were forced to go on the road for their lone playoff match, in which they were far too easily dispatched.
This blog, however, tends to view the performances of the Canadian professional teams with an eye to the Canadian players who can potential participate in our national teams.
And in that department, FC Edmonton was a runaway success. The Canadians on the team were a mix of Alberta boys and veteran domestic players from across the country. They gave a shot to guys like Shaun Saiko, Eddy Sidra, Kyle Porter and others who had failed to stick with European or MLS sides.
The team's Canadian content number for 2011 is 77.3%, which is miles ahead of the other 3 Canadian professional teams.
|NASL Regular Season||21321||27633||77.2%|
All the details can be viewed in full here.
It is difficult to judge what impact these players will have on the Canadian national teams in the near future. The quality of competition in NASL is uneven. The team was most successful in the early going, which points largely to excellent preparation (the Eddies should be commended for their choice of Dutch coach Harry Sinkgraven after their original coaching staff up and left for Japan).
The youth on the team is encouraging, and a core of FC Edmonton players may well feature in this winter's U23 team that will attempt to qualify for the London Olympics. It is unlikely, barring significant transfer moves, that any of the players on Edmonton's 2011 roster will play a significant role in qualifying for Brazil 2014, but there may be a greater impact down the line.
It certainly can't hurt to have a professional club environment that has starting jobs for 8 or 9 Canadians every week, and Edmonton's management should be commended for their approach in 2011.