The bond between father and son is a special one.
For Ricardo Casanova, soccer provides him an opportunity to spend time with his youngest son, Mateo.
“When World Cup or FC Edmonton games come around, it’s a special moment for us when we can just share in this one thing where nothing else matters,” explains Casanova. “Homework doesn’t matter, iPad doesn’t matter, and it’s just a moment for us to spend time together.”
Casanova says he grew up playing soccer non-stop, calling it “a staple” of his life. Whether it was in the backyard at his house, or at the local school with the rest of the kids, he says he was always kicking the ball around.
Father and son began going to FC Edmonton games together, the younger having a fairly short attention span, as kids tend to. Despite admittedly being a bit shy at times, the atmosphere at Clarke was something the two enjoyed.
“I could only keep him focused on the game for about two minutes,” says Casanova. “The supporters group was chanting and making noise and he seemed to like that, so we went back a couple more times, and it kind of started from there.”
Now 11 years old, Mateo was obviously quite disappointed when the FC Edmonton first team ceased operations in the NASL, but both he and his father were determined to do what they could to help bring their local club back.
“I had a chat with Mateo, and he was not happy that we wouldn’t be able to go to games,” recalls Casanova. “I told him that we would have to get outside of our comfort zone, go to these events and put our names and faces in the crowd. Mateo said, ‘yeah, whatever we have to do.’”
Mateo (right) holding the YEG4CPL banner prior to the spring Al Classico
The two got involved with the YEG4CPL movement, with the elder Casanova even speaking at Edmonton City Council on behalf of the club on a couple of occasions – usually with his son trying to keep himself entertained somewhere in the crowd.
“Getting involved with the supporters and talking with the club has been extremely rewarding,” beams Casanova. “It’s a very cool group to be a part of, as everybody looks towards the same goal.”
While Ricardo says he doesn’t really have a favourite overseas club, Mateo has already latched onto a European squad. The Southwest Sting youngster is a fan of Bayern Munich, apparently even before the German giants signed young Edmonton sensation Alphonso Davies this past summer.
“It was perfect, it was like the perfect fusion of our two worlds,” says Casanova. “The fact that Alphonso came from Edmonton and is now at Mateo’s favourite club, he instantly became his favourite player.”
The two are eagerly anticipating the kick-off of the Canadian Premier League so they can spend even more time together, enjoying the sport they both love so much.
“He’s got a bit of an attitude on him so we banter pretty good back and forth, and just enjoy the game, it’s definitely one of the things we both look forward to.”
Want to attend FC Edmonton matches in the new CPL with family and friends, just like Ricardo and Mateo? Become a member today! Your $50 deposit ensures your spot in line for season tickets, and grants you access to member-exclusive events and information! Join today – https://login.canpl.ca/fcedmonton