This past Monday, FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath, General Manager Rod Proudfoot and NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson met with City of Edmonton officials to review the performance to date of FC Edmonton, share future plans of the NASL, and to discuss the Clarke Stadium turf.
There was good open discussion and a great spirit of understanding regarding the current quality of the field turf at the Stadium. As the existing turf in now nine years old, the City is both aware of the issue as well as committed to ensuring the safest field conditions possible in providing the best possible environment for all the various organizations who are utilizing Clarke Stadium. Field tests and meetings with the turf manufacturer are being conducted this week to assess the status of the current turf. We expect recommendations will follow shortly thereafter.
FC Edmonton’s desire is to have a new artificial turf field installed for the start of the 2014 season that will provide better playing conditions for all users next year. Our team’s play under Coach Colin Miller is vastly improved over last year, and is providing competitive, entertaining play in a League where the quality of professional soccer continues to develop and contend with MLS teams. That being said, resolution of the Clarke turf issue will largely depend upon possible funding solutions, timing and further discussion with stakeholders.
One goal was made very clear at this meeting however: in order to trigger more meaningful discussion around further enhancing Clarke Stadium, the City is looking for proof of continued attendance improvement by the public at future FC Edmonton home games. FC Edmonton attendance has more than doubled this year over 2012, and we are confident that our attendance will be even stronger this fall, especially with the New York Cosmos making their appearance here on September 1.
The primary objective in 2014 is to fill Clarke Stadium on a regular basis for FC Edmonton home games. But generating increased support from soccer fans and corporate Edmonton to garner 4,000 fans per game will be paramount to initiating a more exciting and dynamic soccer environment by enhancing Clarke Stadium, with a look towards a potential new stadium discussion in the future.
“Our staff and players will be working tirelessly this fall, winter and spring to achieve this one key objective,” says FC Edmonton General Manager Rod Proudfoot. “Now in our fourth season, the club is doing our part in trying to provide all the elements possible to make professional soccer a top notch sport and entertainment package that Edmontonians can be proud of. In return, we are looking for fans and businesses to participate and do their part by attending our games. We believe in our fans, in the strengths of our community and in this City.”