Ice hockey mad Canada take on Chile in the U20 and all hopes are pinned on captain David Edgar, a veteran of two U20 Cups already, and now shaping to be one of the best central defenders in the Premiership. Edgar will try an prove with the U20, that the Canucks can celebrate something more than their myriad successes in ice hockey. Edgar is a tower of strength literally at 6'4" but he also has speed with great tackling abilities.
Edgar also showed that he can score to add yet another dimension to his game. In his first home match his booming shot against Man Utd equalized the game for the Magpies against the Red Devils and gained him national prominence as it became one of the more celebrated goals in last season's Premiership. He describes the exhilaration.
"As soon as it left my foot I knew it was going in and I just went mad. It was the greatest feeling in the world. I couldn't stop smiling and the boss and the players had to calm me down because there were still 15 minutes to go. I can tell you, though, I was smiling for a few days after the game too!"
He is a native of Kitchener, Ontario but has thick roots in Geordie soil as his father Eddie Edgar was the Newcastle goalie in the 1970s and grew up following the club's fortunes. Edgar turned down an opportunity to join Man Utd's academy at age nine and opted to stay on in Canada. Over the years he also spurned the Celtics and various other clubs and then joined Newcastle's youth academy on a scholarship at age 13.
"I've supported Newcastle ever since I was a little kid in Ontario," he explained. "My family are all Geordies… so when I got a chance to get into the academy when I was 13, I was just thrilled. It's more than just a sport up there - the club is woven into the fabric of everyone in the city."
Edgar and Ispwich Town striker, Jamie Peters are hoping that their many connections on the field should stand them in good stead against Chile, their main rival. Chile would have been far more dangerous but Udinese striker Alexis Sanchez who many see as the next Marcelo Salas is serving a suspension. The Canucks will also be looking to SC Herenveen striker Will Johnson and Toronto FC's defender Stephen Lumley to steer them to the next round. Both were in the squad that beat Brazil, 2-1 in a friendly U-20 last year with Lumley scoring the winner. (Highlights on YouTube)
David Edgar stats at Soccerbase >>
The Independent covers the match against Man Utd.