Easton Ongaro is going to spend part of the Canadian Premier League’s lengthy off-season in Scandinavia.
FC Edmonton announced on Sunday that Ongaro will go on loan to Danish club Vendsyssel FF until December 31, after the Canadian forward flew to Denmark on Friday to undergo physical examinations. As part of the agreement between the two clubs, Vendsyssel FF, who competes in Denmark’s second division, has the option of buying Ongaro’s rights from FC Edmonton and signing him to a permanent contract once the loan deal ends.
Ongaro has been cleared to begin training and could make his debut for Vendsyssel FF vs. Aarhus Fremad on Oct. 7.
“I’m happy to join the club, and it’s a great opportunity for me, and I’m grateful to get the chance. I hope I can use the stay in Vendsyssel FF to improve as a player and help the team as much as possible,” Ongaro said in a media release.
Ongaro, a 22-year-old native of Edmonton, is coming off a 2020 CPL season in which he scored a team-high three goals for the Eddies, logging 480 minutes of playing time in seven appearances at The Island Games. His solid play did little to help FCE, though, as they finished last place and bowed out in the first round after going winless in seven games, with six draws and one loss.
A product of the University of Alberta, Ongaro was selected 15th overall during the 2018 CPL-U SPORTS Draft by Cavalry FC, but he was later released by the Calgary-based club and he signed with FC Edmonton in May 2019.
Ongaro made his CPL debut on July 27, 2019 in a 1-1 draw against Forge FC, marking the occasion by scoring the tying goal in the 89th minute.
He went on to finish third in the Golden Boot race with 10 goals in 21 CPL games for FC Edmonton during the 2019 CPL season. Incredibly, Ongaro didn’t even start a game for the Eddies until the Fall season, as he suffered a broken hand in training during the Spring campaign, limiting him to just 95 minutes of playing time.
The Eddies signed Ongaro to a new multi-year contract last November, rewarding him for his solid 2019 campaign.
This past February, Ongaro was named to Canada’s provisional under-23 team roster for the Olympic qualifiers, but in March, on the day Canada Soccer was supposed to reveal the final squad, the announcement came that the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The IOC eventually postponed the Tokyo Games until 2021.
Beyond his goal-scoring prowess, Ongaro is noted for using his six-foot-six frame to great effect, and was called the soccer version of former Edmonton Oilers great Ryan Smyth on account of his ability to get in front of the net and score from close range.
“We’ve been looking for an attacking reinforcement for some time, and we had a look at Easton early on, and now he’s here. Easton has something different than our other attacking players; he’s a weapon on set pieces and crosses due to his height. It was also important for us to recruit someone who can play different roles offensively, and Easton is such a player,” Vendsyssel FF coach Lasse Stensgaard said.
Based in the town of Hjørring, which is located in northern Denmark, Vendsyssel FF was founded in 1886 when it was known as Hjørring Gymnastikforening. After multiple mergers, the club was named Hjørring IF in 1921. In 2013, FC Hjørring and Frederikshavn fI merged, and the team became known as Vendsyssel FF.
In 2018, the club earned promotion for the first time to the Superliga, Denmark’s top-flight. Its time in the Superliga was brief, though, and was relegated the following season.
Vendsyssel FF is owned by Core Sports Capital, a Swiss-based sports foundation that owns professional football clubs in France, Austria and Denmark.