FC Edmonton’s Tomi Ameobi is mobbed by his teammates after scoring against the Vancouver Whitecaps during the first half of a Canadian Championship semifinal soccer game in Vancouver, B.C. FC Edmonton, which shuttered its NASL pro franchise last November, announces details of its move to the new Canadian Premier League. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

FC Edmonton returns, this time as a member of the Canadian Premier League

EDMONTON — FC Edmonton is back, this time as a founding member of the new Canadian Premier League.

The Edmonton franchise, which shuttered its NASL pro team last November, announced Friday it will return in the spring of 2019 as one of the CPL’s founding teams.

FC Edmonton will have a natural CPL rival in Calgary’s Cavalry FC. Other founding franchises are Winnipeg’s Valour FC, Halifax’s HFX Wanderers, suburban Toronto’s York 9 FC, Hamilton and Victoria.

The CPL is expected to have 10 members by the end of the year with eight taking part in the 2019 season. Ottawa is widely expected to be among those joining the inaugural lineup.

FC Edmonton is owned and operated by the Fath Group headed up by brothers Tom and Dave Fath, who launched the team in 2010. When the franchise left the NASL, it continued on with its academy.

Jay Ball, who has been with the club for several years, will serve as general manager.

Tom Fath says there was never any intention to change the name, which comes with eight years of branding.

“But it’s a good solid name,” he said in interview.

A survey of fans showed they also wanted to keep it.

“They loved the name and they loved the colours. Because it’s us,” Fath added.

Fath also said he believes the CPL is the right vehicle for the Edmonton team, compared to the largely American NASL.

“We’ll be able to make the argument — come to a game and watch the future Canadian national team stars,” he said.

Edmonton averaged some 3,400 fans at home in its last season in the NASL. Fath noted a free academy game in late April between FC Edmonton and Calgary’s PDL team drew 3,300.

FC Edmonton will continue to make Clarke Stadium its home, with talks ongoing with city officials to expand and upgrade the facility, which has artificial turf. Clarke Stadium, adjacent to Commonwealth Stadium, was used as a practice facility during the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

The club has modernized its emblem for the CPL. It says the shape of the new shield is derived from the City of Edmonton’s coat of arms. The top of the shield is said to evoke the blue sky of the Prairies against the North Saskatchewan River represented in the lower segment of the shield.

The emblem even contains some subtle rabbit footprints, a nod to the club’s beloved rally rabbit — which became an unofficial mascot after running onto the pitch at Foote Field in 2011 and planting itself in front of the rival Montreal Impact goal. Edmonton went on to win the match.

The rally rabbit was also a prominent part of a fan movement to bring the CPL to Edmonton.

The franchise’s official colours — which have been tweaked a bit according to Fath — are described as “Prairie Blue Sky,” “River City Navy” and “Rabbit White.”

“The FC Edmonton supporters and the Rally Rabbit campaign have been absolutely amazing,” CPL commissioner David Clanachan said in a statement. “Passion and dedication define soccer fans and no supporter group has demanded a club the way that Edmonton has.”

Just Posted

Alberta government staff to take day course on Indigenous history, culture

EDMONTON — A three-year program to help government staff better understand Indigenous… Continue reading

Study says exercise can foster brain health for kids with autism and ADHD

TORONTO — A new report says kids with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity… Continue reading

US could back 1st pot-derived medicine, and some are worried

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A British pharmaceutical company is getting closer to… Continue reading

Competition heating up for price-sensitive passengers as Swoop set to launch

MONTREAL — Competition is heating up for Canada’s most price-sensitive travellers as… Continue reading

Not too close with Trudeau, Bellegarde insists as AFN race gets underway

OTTAWA — Experience usually helps when it comes to getting a job… Continue reading

WATCH: Central Alberta High School Soccer League champs crowned

Lindsay Thurber girls’ team and Notre Dame boys’ team won Saturday at Edgar Park Field in Red Deer

Smoking hits new low; about 14 per cent of US adults light up

NEW YORK — Smoking in the U.S. has hit another all-time low.… Continue reading

On a big night for ‘Panther,’ Boseman honours real-life hero

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The MTV Movie & TV Awards gave “Black… Continue reading

Geraldine McCaughrean wins Carnegie children’s book prize

LONDON — British writer Geraldine McCaughrean on Monday won the prestigious Carnegie… Continue reading

Tears flow as gay military veterans tell judge about ruined careers, lives

OTTAWA — Gay military veterans are telling a federal judge they were… Continue reading

Shotgun wounds show homeowner shot Indigenous man at close range, court told

HAMILTON — Either one of two shotgun blasts that hit an Indigenous… Continue reading

When it comes to tipping for service, millennials are cheapest

U.S. millennials are quick to whip out their wallets for pricey avocado… Continue reading

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month