Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Two former FC Edmonton players have signed on with the MacEwan Griffins men's soccer team for the 2021-22 Canada West season, head coach Adam Loga announced Friday.
Midfielders Chance Carter and Ali Yildiz have instantly increased the level of competition in training this past week as the Griffins continue to get ready for the Canada West regular season, which begins Sept. 25 vs. Alberta.
Carter comes in with extensive high-level experience, including six professional games with FC Edmonton's first team during the 2020 Canadian Premier League season. The Eddies announced in a June 23 social media post that they had come to a mutual agreement to terminate the pro contract Carter had for the 2021 CPL season, as he made the choice to focus on academic pursuits.
"Chance made the decision to retire from playing professional soccer to pursue other career interests. We reached a mutual agreement to part ways. We thank Chance for his time with the Club, and we wish him happiness and success in the future."— FC Edmonton (@FCEdmontonNow) June 23, 2021
- Eric Newendorp, General Manager pic.twitter.com/UQ8vV9FHMO
Already a MacEwan student in Faculty of Arts and Science as he pursues a career in dentistry, it made sense for Carter to join the Griffins.
"He really wants to get back in the academic side, so he's stepped down from the pro level and has come in with us," said Griffins head coach Adam Loga. "He'll bring, obviously, a great skillset and tons of experience."
Besides his time with FC Edmonton in the CPL's Island bubble last season, he was previously a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps Academy and the FC Edmonton Academy. He grew up with several Griffins players and was a teammate of fellow first-year player Issac Milambo with the Whitecaps.
"He's been in first team pro environments his whole life," said Loga. "To have him in our mix and to have that in our locker-room is going to be massive for the lads. He's very familiar with the lads and is a great guy.
"We're very happy to have him."
On the pitch, Carter's ability to take care of business will affect the whole team positively, said Loga.
"He Just has that experience and ability to lead and direct," he said. "I can't speak for all the lads, but I know when I played with a vet like that in my career, it gave a sense of calmness. You almost felt safe. It gave that level of confidence for everyone on the pitch and that level of safety knowing you had a player like that beside you or in your 11."
Ali Yildiz, who was on a developmental contract with FC Edmonton, is seen training with the Griffins on Wednesday morning. His outstanding technical skills will allow him to contribute right away with the Griffins (Jefferson Hagen photo).
Yildiz was with FC Edmonton on a development contract and was released back to the Griffins earlier this week. He has great potential to make some noise at the Canada West level, as well.
"He's a younger lad, coming in as an '04, which should be next year's recruiting class, but he's finished up high school a little bit early," noted Loga. "He doesn't look a step out of place whatsoever."
A 17 year old, playing against older players, nothing is fazing Yildiz so far.
"He's come in and done well for us," said Loga. "He buzzes around the midfield, has a good left foot on him and it's nice to be reunited with him. We were at Western Canada Summer Games together and won gold there."
Which has led to a few bragging rights discussions with new teammate Milambo, who was on the Manitoba team Alberta beat in the final of the 2019 tournament.
"The banter's been good with Issac since we beat him in the final," chuckled Loga.
Yildiz will compete for minutes in a promising Griffins midfield.
"He's a very technical player and gets around the park well," said Loga. "He's very cerebral – doesn't just play the game, thinks the game as well. And it's nice having a left-footed player in the mix there.
"Being a young lad and the experience he's had, you just know every day he has a huge opportunity to take another leap to get better."