By Nathan Fernandes
Professional soccer finally makes its return to the nations capital.
The Canadian Premier League unveiled its first ever expansion club “Atletico Ottawa” this week, with former Toronto FC player as the new head coach.
Miguel Angel Ferrer, a former Valencia and Toronto FC forward also known as “Mista”, will be in charge of the new team set to play this season at TD Place in Ottawa.
Atletico Ottawa is the first expansion club joining the Canadian Premier League (CPL), bringing the league to 8 teams now. The new clubs arrival marks the return of professional soccer to nations capital after Ottawa Fury FC suspended operations in 2019 following prolonged battle with the Canadian Soccer Association for sanctioning to play in the United Soccer League (USL) based in the United States. The Fury’s rights were then sold to Miami FC in December.
Colour and crest inspired by Atletico de Madrid
Atletico Ottawa’s name and colors were inspired by its parent club Atletico de Madrid’s colors of red, white, and blue, but the crest includes a backdrop of parliament hill. Atletico Madrid is one of Europe’s most successful soccer clubs, winning multiple La Liga and UEFA Europa League titles. Notable players such as Joao Felix, Jan Oblak, and Thomas Lemar also appeared in a video welcoming Ottawa’s newest club.
Atletico Madrid’s Fernando Lopez will oversee operations for the Ottawa club with Jeff Hunt, part-owner of the Ottawa Redblack’s and 67’s as a “strategic partner”.
What does this mean for Canadian soccer?
Many supporters and analysts believe that being supported by Atletico Madrid, with its history, resources, and success is huge for not only for the new club but also for the growth of the sport in Canada. Zach Diaz, a York University business student despite being a fan of York9 FC another club in the league, was very excited by the news.
“This shows that the big European teams are actually paying attention to Canada and our soccer development. This also opens up a lot of opportunity for Canadian talent, who are hoping to make it big and play in Europe,” said Diaz.
Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin said that the club, are always looking for opportunities to grow its brand and culture, and saw Ottawa as a great place to invest. The Atletico Madrid representatives like the structure of soccer in Canada and believe that there is an enormous potential for growth of the game in the country.