Toronto FC wingback Raheem Edwards is not short on confidence, whether it be on the soccer field or in front of a video game console.
Asked who's best on the MLS team at playing EA Sports "FIFA" soccer game, the 22-year-old from Toronto says he's No. 1 — although he gives midfielder Jonathan Osorio props.
"Everyone else, I think mediocre. Not good enough for me," Edwards said in a good-natured video-game diss of his teammates. "But Oso's on my wavelength, I think."
"Jozy says he's good," Edwards added with a smile, referring to star striker Jozy Altidore. "Jozy talks a lot of smack. That's the one guy I want to play very very very bad."
With the made-in-Vancouver "FIFA 18" coming out Sept. 29, EA Sports is unveiling player ratings in the leadup.
Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco and New York City FC's David Villa are the top two MLS players in the new game, with a rating of 82. Chicago's Bastian Schweinsteiger is third (81) followed by Montreal's Ignacio Piatti, Orlando's Kaka and Jonathan dos Santos of the Los Angeles Galaxy (all 80).
Toronto's Michael Bradley (78) and Victor Vazquez and Altidore (both 76) also crack the MLS top 25 as do Montreal's Blerim Dzemaili (78) and Laurent Ciman (76) and Vancouver's Fredy Montero (76).
The top player worldwide, according to the game, is Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo (94), followed by Barcelona's Lionel Messi (93) and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, Barcelona's Luis Suarez and Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer (all 92).
There are no MLS players in the top 100, which has Edwards shaking his head.
"If anyone is, it should be Seba," he said. "Seba's just magical ... I think he can play in any other league and excel."
Villa should also be in the top 100 in Edwards' books.
TFC players like Edwards, Osorio, Jay Chapman, Ashtone Morgan and Jordan Hamilton will face off online or take a console on the road to play.
Edwards says it's good for bonding, although he admits it gets serious sometimes.
Morgan is diplomatic about his talent at the game — "I'm all right" — and shakes his head at Edwards' FIFA boasts like an older brother who has seen it all before.
"That's just Raheem," he said with a smile. "That's just him, that's him in a nutshell."
Edwards may not want to challenge teammate Steven Beitashour. The 30-year-old fullback has game, although not recently.
"I used to be really big on FIFA. Like nationally ranked," said the California native. "I was pretty crazy and I had to give it up because it was taking a little bit too much time. And I decided I could so some better things with my time.
"I used to play a lot but not any more. I'll get a copy just to have one for a long time down the road. But I don't play any more."
Coach Greg Vanney, a father of four, is expecting to hear about the new FIFA game at home soon.
"I haven't heard about it yet. I imagine at least one if not two of the three boys — my daughter could care less, I assure you — will definitely be in our ear within the next 48 hours I think," he said.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press
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