Connor James, Jeannot Esua headline latest group of FC Edmonton re-signings

FC Edmonton announced a batch of five returning players for next season on Wednesday, including 2019 Canadian Premier League awards nominee Connor James.

The goalkeeper earned a Golden Glove nod after recording seven clean sheets across 22 starts for his hometown club in 2019. James, 23, was selected seventh overall in last year’s CPL-U SPORTS Draft.

James is joined by Jeannot Esua, Allan Zebie, Edem Mortotsi, and Mele Temguia as the latest 2019 squad members to return for next season.

“I am very happy to bring back a large piece of the club’s core and history with this announcement,” FC Edmonton coach and interim GM Jeff Paulus said. “This group of players really formed the structure for our defensive record last season so we are fortunate to have them all back.”

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Esua was voted the team’s Player of the Year by the coaching staff and his teammates this year. The 23-year-old right fullback firmly established himself as a regular starter for the club, making 21 appearances in 2019.

Allan Zebie, 26, first joined the club in 2015 on a short-term contract, and has gone since on to make 77 appearances for the Eddies. In the 2019 season, the Academy graduate featured 23 times for his hometown club.

After graduating from the Academy program, Mortotsi signed his first professional contract in 2013 and went on to make 12 appearances during his first stint at the club. The midfielder re-joined the Eddies in early 2019 and he went on to play 18 times this season.

“With Edem, we saw his offensive tools really come out at the end of the season and we expect big things from him in 2020,” Paulus said.

Temguia joined the club in early 2019 and was a regular starter throughout the campaign, making 27 appearances. The 24-year-old scored the first goal for the Eddies in CPL history against Valour FC on May 4.

FC Edmonton has now brought back 13 players from their 2019 squad with these five joining re-signings Easton Ongaro, Kareem Moses, Ramon Soria, Son Yongchan, Tomi Ameobi, David Doe, Marcus Velado-Tsegaye, and Prince Amanda.

The club parted ways with eight players earlier this month.