Over the last five years, the NASL's FC Edmonton has worked hard to develop it’s on-field product and one of the important mandates of this club is the drip-feed FC Edmonton Academy players into a professional environment. On Wednesday, the latest group of FCE Academy players were able to witness this first hand as they spent the afternoon taking in a first team session to learn from their professional counterparts on the field and take in what head coach Colin Miller had to say.
“We are getting basic soccer principles across to everybody,” said Miller to the group. “So that the Academy will be taught now the same thing that will be expected of them in the first team. This is where we want them to be in a couple years time.”
Although our Academy program has been hailed as one of the best in Canada and with the current group being one of the better teams in Edmonton, the young men noticed a few differences in the way the first team session was run in compared to their own.
“They always work hard,” said FCE Academy player Matthew King. “It’s not just a few seconds of work and rest for a while. They’re always working.”
This work ethic is something that FCE Academy supervisor Jeff Paulus was hoping that the young players would pick up on.
“There is not one player in the first team session that trains inside their comfort zone,” said Paulus. “They push themselves in everything right down to the last minute of the last session.”
Before the session, Miller told the individual academy players to look out for their first team counterparts and learn from them.
“We want them to find role models within their own club, someone that they can look up to” said Paulus. “We want to give them someone that they can mimic their game after and learn their habits in an environment where those role models are accessible.”
The time is not that far away for some of these Academy players to be on the other side of the white line. Goalkeepers Connor James and Christian Kaiswatum, and midfielders Jose Lopez and Carlos Patino are a few players who have been able to have that experience this week in helping out with first team session.
Motivation is also a factor in coming out to see a first team session. A number of players, like Mallan Roberts, Hanson Boakai, Edem Mortotis, Marko Aleksic and Sadi Jalali are only a few years older than players on our Academy program and have themselves played with the Academy over the last few years. Seeing that there is the ability to progress in the sport will only increase their dedication to their own training regimes.
“Only the best will survive in this game,” said Miller. “The ones with the best attitude, the ones with the best commitment, the ones with the best work ethic and the ones with the best technique. It’s the nature of the game.”