With FC Edmonton Gone, Calgary’s Club Takes Over as Alberta’s Team

Cavalry FC, the Eddies' former rival, has been granted the right to "establish itself" across the entire province
Shamit Shome

In a couple of weeks time, Shamit Shome will do what he’s done thousands of times before — put on his cleats and walk onto an Edmonton soccer field.

But this time will be different. He will be doing it wearing the deep red of Cavalry FC, Calgary’s entry into the Canadian Premier League, and former provincial rival of FC Edmonton, which folded before the 2023 season.

Now that FC Edmonton is gone, Cavalry has been granted the right by Alberta Soccer to basically be Alberta’s team. It can promote itself throughout the province. It can develop partnerships — if it so chooses — with amateur clubs across Alberta. There are no Edmonton-Calgary lines anymore.

Just imagine, if you will, that the Oilers went out of business and the Flames officially became Alberta’s team.

That process begins Aug. 23-25 at Campus Saint-Jean. On day one, the Cavs will hold a full training session starting at noon, and then will have camps for kids over the duration of the trip.

For Shome, a University of Alberta product who made 80 appearances for FC Edmonton in North American Soccer League and CanPL games, and also played 52 games in Major League Soccer with the then-called Montreal Impact, this homecoming will be a little bit, odd.

“It will be kind of weird being here and being in Cavalry colours,” he said. “But this will give some kids in Edmonton some opportunities that they should have had with a pro team in the city.”

And Shome says that, even though Cavalry and the Eddies were rivals on the field, the players there want to see an Edmonton team return sooner rather than later.

“Hopefully the league can find some investors who want to bring the team back,” he said, “We need a team in Edmonton.”

Shome is not the only former Eddie to be on the Cavalry roster. Teammates Fraser Aird and Ben Fisk formerly wore FCE blue. And, Cavalry assistant coach and community relations manager Nik Ledgerwood is the Eddies’ former captain.

“We don’t want to be Calgary’s team coming to Edmonton,” said Ledgerwood. “We want to be Alberta’s team looking to establish itself in other parts of the province.”

And that “Alberta’s team” role will likely grow over the next several years. The door is open for tryout camps and more outreach throughout Alberta. This is the opportunity that exists now that the province no longer has an Edmonton-Calgary soccer divide.

When it comes to being a soccer ambassador, Shome relishes the chance. In the last couple of years he spent with FC Edmonton, he also spent time coaching youth teams in the city. And, even as crowds at Clarke Stadium dwindled in FCE’s final couple of seasons of existence, Shome remembers this:

“I remember that the kids were always the loudest.” And it was the enthusiasm of those younger players that gave Shome and his FCE teammates a real boost. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to save the team — and now Cavalry has the chance to paint our town red.