For some, it’s known as the Gateway to the North. But for those of us who call it home, it means so much more.
Edmontonians love the beauty of the environment — especially the North Saskatchewan river valley —and the vibrancy and diversity of the community.
From the gritty to the gifted, the imaginative to the innovative, Edmontonians are remarkably resourceful and resilient. They’re constantly on the lookout for opportunities to achieve, to create, to learn from their setbacks, and celebrate their victories.
If there’s one thing about Edmontonians you can count on, they will always rally.
Nine years ago, brothers Tom and Dave Fath decided to branch out from their family’s paving business and looked to sport as a way to give back to the community they call home. With the massive local enrolment numbers in soccer, the Faths felt a pro team in Edmonton would create a pathway for local talent to pursue the highest levels of the world’s most popular game.
FC Edmonton was founded in late 2009, becoming an original member of the North American Soccer League. In 2010, the club fielded a side comprised mostly of Alberta players, the majority of whom were from Edmonton. They played an exhibition season, and went up against teams like Colo Colo from Chile, the Spokane Spiders, and Vitória of Brazil. The players mostly represented colleges and amateur and youth teams from associations in Edmonton and Calgary. Frenzied fans rallied around their new team. They sang, they danced — and in 2011, they got a little help from a four-legged friend at their old home at Foote Field.
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in late June, and the Eddies were taking on a familiar foe in the soon-to-be MLS bound Montreal Impact. While FC Edmonton was placed solidly near the top of the table and Montreal was struggling to get results that season, for whatever reason, the Impact had the Eddies’ number, winning both the previous two encounters. This Sunday started differently, however, and the Eddies took an early lead thanks to a Kyle Porter goal in the 5th minute. The Eddies were hanging on to the slim lead for the entire game and, in the late stages, Montreal began to press hard. It looked like the winless streak against Montreal would continue, had it not been for a furry intervention. A rabbit made its way onto the pitch and positioned itself in front of the Montreal net, driving the crowd into a frenzy. The Eddies players didn’t seem bothered by the bunny, but the Impact athletes could not stop trying to chase the rabbit off the field. In the end, Montreal could not regain their focus and the Eddies finally had their win against a Canadian rival in NASL play.
Since that day, he has made numerous unscripted appearances on the field in our stadium, and each time he is welcomed with the roar of the crowd. His connection with our supporter groups and young fans is undeniable. He’s an essential part of our story. The Rally Rabbit has gone on to become a permanent fixture on all things FC Edmonton. He appeared on uniforms, scarves, tickets, and tattoos, quickly becoming a social media star. He became part of Edmonton’s soccer history, a bunny beloved by FCE’s fans.
The Eddies played seven seasons in the North American Soccer League. FC Edmonton started a youth male academy in January 2012. In September 2013 FC Edmonton in partnership with the Alberta Soccer Association started a youth female academy.
FC Edmonton ceased NASL operations on November 24, 2017. The Fath brothers stepped back but kept their focus on FCE’s well-established academies as they assessed the possibilities of re-establishing the professional team in the city. What heartbroken supporters and soccer-loving Edmontonians didn’t realize amidst the disappointment was that a new rally was about to begin…