FC Edmonton lands in P.E.I. to make season debut
EDMONTON -- The Oilers exited the NHL bubble while FC Edmonton has entered another in Charlottetown, P.E.I., where the Canadian Premier League is staging the Island Games/2020 season. The league returns to the pitch Thursday.
'The Eddies' arrived after players and staff spent two weeks in self-quarantine before facing more league tests for COVID-19 at the tournament.
"Am I little bit concerned about picking up the virus? I would says it's always in the back of your mind," said FCE goalkeeper Connor James.
Eight teams will participate in a 35-game season that will wrap up in September.
Some 300 players, staff, officials and broadcast personnel will live in the CPL bubble. A system that has worked well during the pandemic for other leagues like MLS, NHL and the NBA. Unlike the situation in MLB, which didn't have teams enter a Hub, and is dealing with a slew of positive COVID results on multiple clubs. Putting the season and lives in jeopardy.
"I'm definitely happy we're going into the bubble system because whats happened in MLB is a little bit frightening," added James.
NO FANS. NO PRESEASON GAMES.
FCE will hit the ground running after spending the last five months training. The team's last game was Oct. 19, 2019. The Eddies will play seven games in 28 days in the first phase. The top four clubs advance in the second round before deciding the championship match-up.
Clubs won't have the luxury of preseason games to shake off any rust.
"I can say for sure when the first whistle blows that we’re going to be ready mentally and physically," Team Captain Tomi Ameobi said during a virtual media conference.
The wait is almost over for FCE as the club prepares for its first match of 2020 on Sunday, Aug. 16. But Head Coach Jeff Paulus isn't quite sure what to to expect.
"The players have been fantastic. They're understanding a new system. So, I'm hoping that we look like we've been together properly for a while. Hoping that it doesn't look like, what it could look like under the circumstances, so we'll see," Paulus told CTV Edmonton news.
The Eddies are still in search of their first-ever championship title and start the tournament against Hamilton's Forge FC.