At the end of the 2012/13 season, after a 28-year long absence from Germany’s top flight, Randy Edwini-Bonsu’s club Eintracht Braunschweig were finally promoted to the Bundesliga. But let us go back one more year. Obviously Randy Edwini-Bonsu had been excited to play for one of those special few clubs in Germany that is traditionally seen by the fans to possess a great amount of passion and history. In addition, it was a real accomplishment for him to jump from the first Finnish league right into Germany’s 2.Bundesliga. Throw into the mix the fact that this club finished second, right after Germany’s capital club Hertha BSC Berlin, which meant automatic promotion; it would have been easy to conclude from afar that everything is going to plan for this young Canadian.
But as so often in life, and in the soccer world, the beauty was only skin deep. Randy Edwini-Bonsu only played eight games for the first string team that had managed to secure promotion in the Bundesliga for the first time in almost 3 decades. In those eight games in Germany’s second division, he scored and assisted no goals at all. To be fair, those 8 games were only 134 minutes. Nevertheless, he had been given a chance, albeit small, and he hadn’t been able to take advantage of it. He played more minutes (but less games) for the U23 side of Eintracht Braunschweig, who at the time played in one of Germany’s many regional 5th divisions. Edwini-Bonsu managed to assist a goal, but overall his performance data simply wasn’t good enough. It must have been a crushing experience for youngster, whose dream it was to play in a top division in Europe.
It was not a big surprise that Eintracht Braunschweig decided to release him. Ironically, it was even less of a surprise that he was nominated for the Canadian national team to compete in the 2013 Gold Cup. As is so often the case with our national team, it doesn’t seem to matter if you are an unattached player or if you have very few first team minutes.
Nevertheless, Edwini-Bonsu could have decided to take the summer off to prioritize finding a new club or at least taking the time to sit down with his agent to discuss his future. However, unlike some of his fellow teammates, Edwini-Bonsu planned to help out his country to beat CONCACAF superpowers like Mexico, mediocre teams like Panama and minnows like Martinique instead.
As most Canadian soccer fans know things didn’t turn out as planned. We ended up losing to both Martinique and Mexico, while drawing to Panama and allthewhile managing not to score a single goal in the entire tournament. It would have been very interesting to see if Edwini-Bonsu could have made a difference in Canada’s offensive firing power; but unfortunately he had suffered a very serious knee injury during the Canadian training camp in the prelude of the tournament.
The real tragedy of the 2012/2013 season had not been his disappointing performance during his first year in Germany. It was in fact that this player’s willingness and sacrifice to represent the Canadian Men’s National Team at North America’s main soccer tournament did not pay off. Due to his serious knee injury, he did not find a club that was willing to take a gamble on him at the start of the season.
Instead of giving up, Edwini-Bonsu took some personal time, disappeared from social media, and most importantly had successful knee surgery. He finished his deserved break from the game and everything distracting around it, just in time to go on trials at Germany’s 3rd division side Stuttgarter Kickers in early 2014.
This team from Southern Germany went out of their way to sign this young Canadian, who had shown so much potential, and speed, previously. During the second half of the 2013/2014 season the Stuttgarter Kickers celebrated a turnaround after a pretty bad first half and Edwini-Bonsu finally found the back of the net (twice) and even assisted one.
Stuttgarter Kickers have shown much faith in the young player, who deserves to be treated with a lot of respect due to his sacrifices for Canadian soccer, and arguably for his fashion sense, that they extended his contract for at least another year. The third division in Germany has already started and Edwini-Bonsu, who has featured in all of their four games, has already scored a goal, resulting in his team sitting comfortably among the Top 6 teams of the table. Very soon Randy Edwini-Bonsu is expected to be in the squad for Stuttgarter Kickers’ first round match of the German Cup (DFB-Pokal).
He has played in a German cup match once before with his former team Eintracht Braunschweig, who were relegated in last place, after just one year in the Bundesliga and who also released another Canadian in last year’s winter break under less than favourable circumstances by the name of Simeon Jackson. In his first ever match in the competition his former teammates and himself played vs. VfB Lübeck and won, but to be fair that’s a place that is only famous for marzipan and not exactly a soccer town.
This Saturday, August 16th, at 9:30AM EST, his current team, the proud Stuttgarter Kickers, take on mighty Borussia Dortmund at home. This is the same team that reached the 2013 Champions League final, during Edwini-Bonsu’s forgettable year, and who now boasts plenty of world cup winners in their squad.
Here is hoping that this first round Cup is a good omen and that Randy Edwini-Bonsu’s fortunes are finally turning around. Don’t miss this game.