FC Edmonton announced the release today of four players from their 2012 roster. The four players released are Ilja van Leerdam, Matt Lam, Serisay Barthelemy, and Fabien Vorbe.
Vorbe was a 22-year-old Haitien import who spent most of his 423 regular season and 90 Voyageurs Cup minutes at left back. In the games I saw him he was athletic, stout but quick, but also extremely raw. Reportedly he played up top in Haiti but I didn't see the technical skills that suggested he'd be a great professional forward either. He was an interesting player but not an arresting one, and when you're approaching your mid-twenties time is running out to learn the technical rudiments Vorbe lacked.
Barthelemy, a French import, was a complete disappointment running things in the middle of the park and on the wing, generating next-to-no offense and being a problem defensively despite getting a large number of imports. He was probably one of the more expensive players on the Edmonton roster and his departure is welcome news.
As for Lam, his release isn't a surprise given that Edmonton didn't even want him practicing with the team anymore but is still a disappointment. Lam is an obvious talent with youth, professional experience, and a seeming inability to work with Harry Sinkgraven. I'd hoped, in the bottom of my heart, he and Sinkgraven could mend fences and realize each other's mutual value: didn't happen. Fingers crossed Lam lands on his feet somewhere, but sadly in a community as small as North American soccer if your former coach is giving you a reputation as a bad egg, you are sometimes in trouble.
Van Leerdam's departure isn't exactly a surprise, but is still interesting. A 34-year-old recovering from a serious knee problem who may have been the most expensive player on the team isn't exactly a hot commodity, but when he played he was the ball-moving midfielder Edmonton so desperately needed all year. I can understand not wanting to pay big money to a player in van Leerdam's position, but the Eddies will need to move aggressively to replace him.
 — FC Edmonton. "Off-season moves underway at FC Edmonton." FCEdmonton.com. Accessed September 26, 2012. http://www.fcedmonton.com/news/2012-09-26/Off-season%20Moves%20Underway%20at%20FC%20Edmonton.
 — Sandor, Steve. "Lam isn't welcome back to train or play with FC Edmonton." The11.ca, September 17, 2012. Accessed September 25, 2012. http://the11.ca/2012/09/17/lam-isnt-welcome-back-to-train-or-play-with-fc-edmonton/.