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Canada high for Diamonds

11th December 2015

Airdrieonians FC are delighted to announce that we will face Canadian NASL side FC Edmonton in a glamour friendly at the Excelsior Stadium on Tuesday March 15 next year. 

The Eddies - coached by former Hamilton Accies and Rangers defender Colin Miller - are heading to Britain for a four-match two week tour in preparation for their new season and the Diamonds have been chosen as one of the host clubs. 

And the great news for the fans is that admission prices for an intriguing clash have been pegged at £5 for adults and £2 for concessions in a spring showdown that will showcase our first team and some of our emerging talent. 

FC Edmonton will also face Scottish clubs Partick Thistle and Queens Park as well as England's Newcastle United Under-21 squad. 

Diamonds chairman Tom Wotherspoon said: “We have been working hard behind the scenes on securing this game and we are delighted to being forging new links with a top Canadian side. 

“FC Edmonton will be a stern test and it’s great that we will showcase some of our emerging Academy players that night also. 

“We will give the Eddies the warmest of welcomes and look forward to what should be a unique occasion. 

“Next summer will also see the first visit of our twin club Temecula FC from San Diego so I feel we are doing our bit to raise awareness of the Diamonds’ brand.” 

The NASL are thrilled that FC Edmonton have the ambition to make the trip to Britain. 

And their commissioner Bill Peterson said: "FC Edmonton's pre-season trip is yet another example of the NASL taking a global approach toward growing the league and improving the level of play on the field. 

"Not only will the trip give the club some great exposure, it will perhaps most importantly help them get better as a team and prepare them for what will be a very competitive 2016 season." 

The Eddies will stay in Stirling, with daily training sessions taking place at Little Kerse Field—a sport multiplex that includes a FIFA 2 Full Size Astro Pitch, four FIFA five-a-side Astro pitches and several other grass pitches. 

Eddies players and staff will also have access to an on-site Sports Café, full video and television facilities to review match footage, as well as gym and physiotherapy services for strength training and conditioning. 

FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller said:  "Our initial thoughts with taking the team to Scotland with our owners Tom and Dave Fath's approval was that first of all we would get good quality games of football. 

"Our players are going to be immersed in a football environment for 14 days, that will be the priority. The aggressive football environment of Scotland, I'm hoping will rub off on our players so that when they start the NASL season that they will be in a very good frame of mind." 

Entering their sixth season overall, FC Edmonton will also have an opportunity to spread the club's brand abroad and develop potential relationships at the international level. 

"We're a well-established, strong NASL club and we now have an opportunity to put the FC Edmonton brand a wee bit more out there," Miller added. 

"With my connections in Scotland, we will bespeaking to other clubs that have an interest in maybe working together in the future, who knows? These are the possibilities that can happen...It's a real opportunity for us to put the club in the shop window."

The Eddies will be the fifth team in the NASL's Modern Era to head abroad for competition, joining Minnesota United FC (Brazil, England), Fort Lauderdale Strikers (Brazil), Tampa Bay Rowdies (Portugal) and New York Cosmos (Hong Kong, El Salvador, Spain, Cuba, Dubai) on the league's shortlist of clubs who have gone global with their brand. 

"Scotland has great teams and a great soccer culture, so our team will have an excellent training experience," FC Edmonton co-owner Tom Fath explained. 

"And this year, because of the Canadian dollar exchange rates, it's more cost-effective for the team to train in Scotland than in Florida."

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