Jamar Dixon remembers the feeling of knowing he was finally coming home after a long journey through parts of North America and Europe. He was in Finland playing for FF Jaro of the Finnish Veikkausliga and he had a game the day before he was being transferred back to Ottawa.
It was impossible for him to focus, he was too excited to return home. The joy and excitement he felt about finally being able to be close to his friends and family, and play for his hometown, was all too surreal.
Dixon and fellow Ottawa-native teammate Eddie Edward both returned home last season, and are looking forward to playing in their second season with Fury FC.
Up until July of last year, Dixon was playing in the Finland’s Premier League while Edward was transferred over from NASL side FC Edmonton. This isn’t the first time they will see each other on the pitch, but it’s the first time playing together on the same team.
They were opponents in their youth soccer league when they were younger, when Edward played for Ottawa South United and Dixon played for the Gloucester Hornets. According to Dixon, they always had good battles against each other.
“It was always ‘who’s going to score between him and me’,” said Dixon. “It was interesting that we finally got an opportunity to play with each other here because we never got the chance when we were younger.”
Edward played his youth soccer with OSU and in the Premier Development League with the Ottawa Fury. The dynamic right-back has known for a while that Ottawa is where he really wanted to play. Having played against then-rival Fury FC while starting for FC Edmonton, he could already see that this is the type of soccer he would like to be a part of when finding out he was returning home.
“It was amazing, obviously it wasn’t the greatest feeling when I played on the opposite side of things when I was in Edmonton and I was playing in Ottawa getting booed by the hometown fans,” said Edward. “But to have them behind me and supporting me now, it’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of since I was younger.”
Both players received a lot of support from their hometown last year, bringing a large gathering of supporters along with them. They don’t expect it to be any different this year.
“Every game they come out in large numbers, and they’re very loud, and enthusiastic,” said Edward. “They love the games, and they can’t wait for the home opener. It’s a special feeling to look up into the fans and see them.”
When Dixon was called up to the Canadian Men’s National Team last February to play in a match versus the United States in California, that’s where he spoke with Julian de Guzman who at the time was also captaining Ottawa Fury FC.
Based on their conversation, the transition from Finland back to Ottawa was not only compelling, but it made it easier. In Finland, the style of play differs quite a bit.
“Over there (Finland) it’s extremely technical,” said Dixon. “You have athletic players of course, but there’s a lot of technical ability. So it’s not as much thinking running-wise, it’s more what you do on the ball and off the ball.”
Edward played in 19 matches for Fury FC last season, and is hoping to make an even bigger impact this year by improving on his game and helping Ottawa fight for the USL championship. He scored the first goal in USL history for Fury FC and his next goal is scoring at TD Place in front of his hometown fans, his family and friends.
As for Dixon, he logged nearly 900 minutes in 12 games, while racking up two assists and an NASL Player of the Week nomination, and he is also looking sharp heading into this year’s campaign. Both athletes will be looking to exceed expectations going into their second season with Fury FC, representing their hometown with pride and passion.
Tickets for Fury FC home games and season tickets for the 2017 USL season are available at OttawaFuryFC.com, by calling 613.232.6767 X1 or in person at The Box Office at TD Place.