Law and Order: Soria’s smarts evident on and off the pitch

EDMONTON — Maybe FC Edmonton needs a name change. Something like, “FC Edmonton LLP.”

Striker Tomi Ameobi is in the home stretch of his quest to earn a law degree. And Spanish defender Ramon Soria, well, he’s not only already a sports lawyer, he also acts as his own agent.

And Soria not only has his law degree but last year he earned his UEFA “B” coaching licence.

“I am sure I am going to stay involved with soccer after playing,” said Soria, a ball-moving centreback. “Maybe I want to work in a club, or in a league or with a federation.”

And, as for representing himself?

“In the past, I did not have very good experiences with agents,” he said.

“So for contracts and everything, it’s me — I take care of myself.”

Ramόn Soria (FC Edmonton)
Ramόn Soria (FC Edmonton)

Coach Jeff Paulus knows well from their time together in NASL. Soria was with Puerto Rico FC and was with the Ottawa Fury when the club made its debut in the NASL. He’s played against the Eddies many times.

Paulus wants defenders who can link with the midfield and are comfortable with the ball at their feet. He said Soria was one of the players he originally shortlisted when he learned he was going to coach the Eddies in the CPL.

Then, Paulus spoke with Marc Dos Santos, the current coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps, about Soria. Dos Santos coached the Spanish defender in Ottawa.

“He’s going to make an excellent coach,” Paulus said of Soria. “His mind for the game is fantastic. His leadership qualities, we’ve seen that in Puerto Rico where he was the team captain. We’re seeing it here in our training, as well. He’s just that player who can calm down the back line for us. He’s always composed on the ball and just sees the whole field and his passing range is unbelievable.

“I spent an hour on the phone with Marc talking about him, just to get Marc’s thoughts and Marc’s opinions — and Marc rates him very highly, as well.”

Soria rated his experience with Dos Santos highly, too.

“When I came to Ottawa, I was very young,” Soria recalled. “It was my first time in North America, and when you come from Europe to North America there are a lot of things that are very different. It was hard to get used to at the beginning, but Marc Dos Santos is a very good coach.”

And, when Soria and his wife found out the CPL was coming, they realized it was their opportunity to return to a country that they’d fallen in love with.

“I wanted to come back to Canada,” said Soria. “Honestly, in 2014, I was very happy with my wife in Canada, in Ottawa. So, when I realized that there was going to be a new league — the CPL, and everything involved around the CPL — it looked right.

“And FC Edmonton was the one club that I already knew. I played many times against them in the NASL. So, it was not a very tough decision. I already knew Jeff a little bit, I knew the club, I knew a little about the city, so it was easy.”

FC Edmonton's Clarke Stadium. (CPL)
FC Edmonton’s Clarke Stadium. (CPL)

And, while he already has his eyes on life after soccer, Soria thinks he has lots left to give on the pitch.

“I think, with the style we’re going to play, defenders will be very important in building up the game,” he said. “It’s exciting for me. This is how I have played all of my life in Spain. This is the style. So, this was very exciting.”