EDMONTON — Former Edmonton Oilers executive Jeff Harrop has been named president of FC Edmonton, which is currently being run by the Canadian Premier League.
The league announced Dec. 31 that it had taken over operation of FC Edmonton while a search for new ownership continues. That hunt is ongoing.
Harrop, who served as senior vice-president marketing and a member of the executive leadership team at Oilers Entertainment Group from 2015 to 2021, says he expects to continue work under the new ownership.
"That's the goal," he said in an interview. "Certainly they've hired me here for the long-term. I think they took a look at my track record in sports-entertainment and prior to that with some blue-chip companies (Molson Coors, Johnson and Johnson) and certainly my local market knowledge.
"So their expectation is that a new owner would come in and want to have that continuity and expertise to move forward."
Harrop, an Edmonton native, replaces FC Edmonton president and GM Eric Newendorp, who joined the club in 2020.
Harrop points to the Olympic triumph by the Canadian women last summer in Tokyo and the rise of the Canadian men, including bumper crowds for November World Cup qualifying matches at Commonwealth Stadium, saying he sees a bright future for the sport in Edmonton.
"There's great passion here and there's great potential here," he said.
"There's lot of work to do, there's no doubt about that," he added. "We need to build a brand here. But if we do that successfully, I've no doubt we're going to flourish as a franchise."
While Harrop works off the field, head coach Alan Koch is looking after the on-field product.
“Today is a new start, we are excited to embrace the challenges ahead,” Koch, who doubles as the team's director of football operations, said in a statement. “We are ready to put in the hard work and deliver another great season with a talented young team for the dedicated FC Edmonton fans."
FC Edmonton, founded by Tom Fath and his brother David, debuted in 2011. It ceased playing in the North American Soccer League after the 2017 season before joining the CPL for its inaugural 2019 campaign.
Edmonton (6-12-10) finished seventh in the eight-team league in 2021.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2022
The Canadian Press