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The Edwini-Bonsu Show

The blogging has been scarce the last couple weeks. If anybody who worked with me read my blog, they'd notice that the Maple Leaf Forever is most active when it's quiet on the job and at its dullest when I have a lot of work to get done. And the last couple weeks have been annoyingly productive from an employment standpoint.

At times when quantity is lacking, the wise blogger will make up for it with quality, writing well-researched articles about subjects with broad interest from angles not previously considered. Not being a wise blogger, I will instead write about a U-20 striker who spent most of the last year in the Premier Development League.

Randy Edwini-Bonsu is part of the great crop of Canadian attacking talent coming up through the ranks as we speak. The comparison to Simeon Jackson is an almost irresistable one. Edwini-Bonsu is short (listed 5'5" and even that's generous), young, and has obscenely good pace. He was also born outside of Canada and actually spent most of his life in his native Ghana before emigrating to Edmonton at age twelve.

Jackson's career is trending better than Edwini-Bonsu's. At nineteen, Jackson was coming into his own for semi-professional club Rushden and Diamonds of the Conference National. Meanwhile, the nineteen-year-old Edwini-Bonsu has been on the fringe of the Whitecaps for the last two years. There are a few reasons for this: he's been hurt, which has obviously impacted his development, while Jackson has remained supernaturally healthy for a player of his size and role. Second, Edwini-Bonsu has only been playing football at all for seven years, since he moved to Canada.

For somebody with as much raw athleticism as Edwini-Bonsu, this is not as much of a handicap as you might think. Striker is the least technical position on the pitch. If you have good eyes, a good brain, and can leave trails of fire when you run, then you can play for somebody. "Run fast, kick ball" got Edwini-Bonsu a look with F.C. Metz and a contract at the Whitecaps Residency team to start the 2007 season after time in the metro Edmonton youth leagues.

Luckily, in addition to a superb athlete it turns out that Edwini-Bonsu is also a quick study. His progress is remarkably positive, injuries aside. He's scored three goals for Canada at the youth level and deserved every one of them, tying for the Golden Boot in the CONCACAF U-20 championships despite Canada going down in the group stage.

In his sparse Whitecaps experience so far, Edwini-Bonsu's progress has been both obvious and exciting. On Sunday against Miami FC, Edwini-Bonsu appeared as a late substitute with Marlon James ailing and made a ridiculous move to set up Charles Gbeke's second goal, stepping past defender John Pulido as though it were a practice drill and thundering down a quarter of the pitch before laying the ball off perfectly to a wide-open Gbeke for an easy finish.

If he keeps doing that up, Whitecaps fans might not even notice that James is gone.