Jeff Paulus is bringing plenty of familiar faces back together as he builds his first Canadian Premier League roster at FC Edmonton, but one name – the first in club’s history – hasn’t actually geared up for the club before.
Despite calling Edmonton home, Randy Edwini-Bonsu has never played for the Eddies.
When the club was first formed in 2009, the Ghanaian-born Canadian international was with the Vancouver Whitecaps. By 2011, his career had taken off such that he earned a move to Europe with AC Oulu in Finland. That, of course, eventually turned into a move to Germany, where he has spent the last six years playing for various clubs.
He’s finally back home, a dream he’s been hoping to fulfill for the last four years.
And he’s excited to play in Paulus’ attack-minded system.
“I haven’t known Jeff for that long, but we’ve been talking a lot lately,” Edwini-Bonsu told CanPL.ca.
“I wanted to find out what his philosophy and his plan was. Every time we’ve sat and talked about his plans, I’ve bought into it, since day one. He has a good plan, and the way he wants to play suits my style of play. He’s giving me the freedom to play football with no stress.
“Of course, we’ll have tactics we need to play, but he says to be creative in the attacking third, and that’s what I want as a player.”
If Edwini-Bonsu offers attacking options all across the frontline, Edmonton’s second signing, Allan Zebie, brings the exact opposite traits.
The longtime FC Edmonton regular returned from a hip injury and is ready to make the Eddies’ midfield his own, especially against local rivals.
‘In the past at FC Edmonton, we’d play a ton of American teams so I feel like the fans couldn’t connect properly. By playing against teams like Cavalry and Valour, we’re going to have local rivalries, which I think will be way better for the fans.
“And,” he added. “If fans are more engaged, we feel it and play harder.”
It’s that spirit of Canadian rivalry – especially against Cavalry FC – that has Zebie most excited about this new foray into professional soccer.
“Obviously, with the football and hockey teams, there is already a rivalry here, between Calgary and Edmonton,” Zebie said. “Hopefully, soccer can make it even better.
“My brother played in Calgary along with a few other friends of mine and guys like Nik (Ledgerwood) who I know pretty well (are there too).
“I want to play as many games as possible, get back to full fitness, and become the best defensive midfielder in the league,” Zebie offered.
The Paris-born Canadian youth international added that he hopes fans will grow to appreciate him for being as reliable as Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante in midfield.
“I’m going to do the dirty work,” he concluded. “I want my presence felt on the field.”