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    The evolution of pro soccer in the nation’s capital will take a new step forward on February 11th with the new Canadian Premier League club backed by Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. From there, owners and key figures in the club will have as little as three weeks to get a manager, coaches and a full roster of players ready for pre-season camp, which is scheduled to start at the beginning of March for other CPL clubs. In the words of Sir Alex Ferguson, it’s squeaky-bum time for those building Atletico Ottawa.

    Many of the league’s top players and prospects have already signed elsewhere in the league, and much of the former Fury roster has found new clubs in both the CPL and USL, but there are still many players Atletico Ottawa can to look at and potentially sign before the regular season kicks off in April. The roster will likely include some loan players from the Atletico program, as well as some L10 and PLSQ players, however there is also a chance for Atletico Ottawa to pick up some fairly well-known names in the Canadian Soccer community. Here are five players that I think Atletico Ottawa brass should seriously consider making their first grouping of signings.
    Find the list & analysis on the NSXI Network.

    The Canadian soccer landscape is going through a serious metamorphosis. The last decade has seen the launch of regional Division 3 leagues Première Ligue de Soccer du Québec and League 1 Ontario in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In 2019 the Canadian Premier League played its first season. For male soccer players wishing to play professionally, these are encouraging developments. Prior to the existence of these leagues, the odds were significantly stacked against players trying to make the leap from youth to professional as the gap in playing level was simply too large.
    It is a gap that long time soccer broadcaster and current Marketing and Communications Officer for BC Soccer Peter Schaad knows all too well. Over much of the past year, Schaad and his BC Soccer cohorts have been working steadily to address that issue for BC players.
    The idea of a Division 3 regional league like PLSQ and L1O was included in BC Soccer’s 2016 strategic plan. However at the time the ‘Regional Tier 3 League’ as it was called gained insufficient interest from potential participating clubs and the idea was shelved. But the start of the Canadian Premier League breathed new life into BC League 1 and it was revived.
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    Langley-born Joel Waterman officially made history on Tuesday afternoon, as he became the first player to make the jump from the Canadian Premier League to Major League Soccer, joining the Montreal Impact for a fee reported to be in the $100k region. Waterman also became the first player sold by a CPL team for a transfer fee, giving us an example of how beneficial the new Canadian first division can be for young footballers in this country.
    Despite being the only player to make the jump to MLS so far, Joel Waterman wasn’t necessarily considered one of the best players in the CanPL. In fact, OneSoccer ranked him just 43rd on their year-end list of the top 50 players in the league. Waterman has many strong qualities though, and if an MLS team was convinced by his quality, then maybe he was somebody we were overlooking all season long.
    Let’s take an in-depth look at what Waterman does and doesn’t bring to the table for the Montreal Impact:
    His versatility is very impressive, and is certainly one of the main reasons Montreal signed him.
    Joel Waterman is a centre-back first and foremost, and while he can play other positions on the pitch, his versatility within the centre-back position on its own is rather impressive. As you know, there are multiple different formations used regularly in all levels of football, and pretty much all of those formations use either 2 centre-backs (a back 4) or 3 (a back 3). The roles played by centre-backs in these 2 formations vary quite a bit more than you’d expect, as do the areas of the pitch that they cover.
    Read more on the NSXI Network

    Thomas Nef has an indepth interview with Adam Hemati, an Iranian-Canadian who plays as a midfielder for Iranian club Persepolis. Learn his story.
    Available in both audio & video formats for your convenience.
    Find it here: https://www.northernstartingeleven.com/canucks-abroad-interview-series-episode-2-with-adam-hemati/

    Ottawa Fury announced last week that they have decided to suspend operations following issues regarding their CONCACAF sanctioning for USL in 2020. There is much to debate about decisions by those involved, however I  want to take this opportunity to look back at the 16 years that Ottawa Fury were operating in the capital region, and all the Canadian players, coaches and managers that this club gave opportunities to, and helped guide along the way.
    Ottawa Fury began in 2003 through John Pugh (current Canada Soccer Association board member), bringing women’s soccer to the capital region in the form of a USL W-League. Between 2003 and 2014, the Ottawa Fury W-League team managed to win nine division titles, made the national finals on three occasions and were league champions once. Over the course of its eleven seasons the W-League team featured such players as Kadeisha Buchanan (now with Lyon and the Canada women’s side) as well as Ashley Lawrence (currently with Paris Saint Germain and also the Canada women’s side).  
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    On Canucks Abroad with Thomas & Juan, our host interviews Canadian Soccer Players from around the world.
    In this inaugural episode, Thomas interviews Aramis Kouzine, who played a year of futsal with CSKA, was cut from Philadelphia Union, and now plays in the Ukrainian Premier League.
    Catch the whole episode & subscribe on the NSXI Network.

    They are building a league. None of it existed before. It is easy for fans and followers to lose sight of what was so obvious only a few short months ago. Now people are paying attention to players, coaches, teams, formations, and results. But the challenge of winning games, learning your trade as a player or coach, or making tactical adjustments is undergirded by a league infrastructure which has an entire set of its own challenges, difficulties, and pitfalls. From marketing the teams to broadcasting the games to running your venue on game day, everywhere one turns there is a new challenge for the Canadian Premier League. And each of the teams face hurdles to overcome that are unique to their context.
    For Cavalry FC, their contextual challenges have included weather, transportation, and stadium creation. Their home base at Spruce Meadows required a significant amount of construction to get ready for this season including the construction of a large grandstand. Ian Allison, president and COO of Spruce Meadows Sports and Entertainment describes how the combination of weather and construction combined to negatively impact their playing surface.
    Read more on the NSXI Network.

    El Diego
    Canada produced a stunning display to defeat their southern neighbours for the first time in over three decades, and while the effort on display deserves a lot of the praise there were also multiple tactical decisions that led Canada to a more than deserving victory.

    It’s been a while, but the Sea-To-Sea Podcast is back with another episode. Hosted by Nathan Martin and Rob Notenboom, this episode features discussion around the women’s game in Canada, some Canadian Premier League Talk, and the excitement around the national team.
    The episode closes with an interview with a couple members of the Above and Beyond Brigade; a great program led by some Cavalry FC players to reach out to their community!
    Listen & subscribe on the NSXI Network.

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    • I imagine many similar stories to this one https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/52179890?at_custom1=[post+type]&at_custom3=%40BBCWalesNews&at_medium=custom7&at_custom4=D8A9A0A6-78BD-11EA-8778-36EF39982C1E&at_campaign=64&at_custom2=twitter   https://www.nottinghampost.com/sport/football/football-news/blow-nottingham-forest-fa-statement-4028164      
    • My source in Spain, the guy who writes about Spanish players abroad, says that Viti had a poor relationship with his former club. He was not training well nor showing a proper attitude with discipline. The club president had actually requested he not play back in January, I do not think he had minutes from that point on, so At Madrid were clearly on top of this, or his agent was.  He's a young prospect, I think he felt he could have had better chances, since he played for the Tarragona  2nd team, the first team relegated from 2nd division last year, so for him to be in 3rd tier was a let down.  But to be honest, CPL is not better than Spanish 3rd tier, he may just be thinking about getting his foot in the door at Atlético.
    • 1 or maybe 2 dozen teams in all of Europe. I'll take that bet.  Plus wage cuts, staff cuts. Big teams with players out on loan will look to sell off players. Reserve side players, youth players etc etc. With no or reduced inputs your gonna cut cut cut outputs  Owning a soccer team big or small isn't about making money, it's about cash flow. No essential services in football. The cash flow has been almost completely halted. Its unheard of since ww2
    • Technically there are 122 pro teams in Spain. Fourth tier is semi pro. In England if you consider Conference level (National League), 5th tier, also pro, there are a few more, maybe it is 130 teams. I really do not think that there will be that many teams going under. And if they do, contrary to what Ozzie is arguing, you cannot refound financially, in terms of capital, and keep your licence, normally that means losing it and dropping divisions. True, you could sell your licence, but that is another story. If not that many go under, I don't see how many players will jump ship. Maybe if there is no league in September or they are still finishing up, or in off-season, but that is too late for CPL: Still, I doubt it affects any more than a dozen or two teams. Since a large % of lower tier teams lose money anyways, those not paying salary now are cutting their losses. Then, gate is important but do the numbers: so far we've missed 3 weekends of football in Spain. That is either one or 2 home games for each club. And saving the cost of travel, lodging if you were away. The teams really hurting, I think, are the sides in a third or 2nd tier with the history and stadiums to justify them being in a higher tier. They've spent to promote, they get lots of fans out and the revenue stream from gate is strong, they are amongst the teams in their divisions with the highest budgets. They've probably seriously indebted themselves regardless of revenue just to ensure promotion. 
    • As I see it, this ranking is fragile. It has everything to do with what those players did in the last few weeks of play. If you'd done it in January it would be rather different. If they'd all kept playing, probably also. Davies probably lept 5 spots merely on the basis of the Chelsea game. I am not taking anything away from it, just think that these rankings are not too solid, they are more anecdotal. If Haaland went 3 fixtures without scoring and someone lower down had played a few top matches, it'd look different. Now with the top mature players, that does not happen, Messi or Cristiano, or whoever else you want to stick in there, tend to hold up regardless of the last few months of play.
    • I thought that the CSA would be publishing in their website some news and words of support for Karina.  No tact!
    • Wrong about the day, but right about the latest name.  
    • Bear in mind when the leagues start back up and they lost a lot of money people who they depend on for revenue (fans) will be out of work and in some sad cases dead. So theres that. All these potential investors are loosing money left and right at the moment. Everyone's loosing money. Teams might maybe come back eventually but in the meantime everyone at best will be taking a wage cut. The ripple effect thru Europe will be immense How many professional soccer teams are in Spain, Italy, UK, France, Germany? Maybe 1500 24×1500 Where's Kent the numbers guy when you need him?
    • Clubs can bounce back quickly over in Europe after going bankrupt by reforming under a new holding company and lower level leagues over there can always turn semi-pro or amateur for a few years to cut costs until the business climate picks up agsin, if needs be. Life will go on. Bear in mind also that this pandemic happened relatively late in the season in most European countries, so a lot of revenue had already been generated. The leagues that potentially face the most hardship going forward are those that were just starting their preseason and have no summer break and unfortunately CanPL falls into that category. Think the league is low budget enough and the pandemic happened early enough that the owners will be able to handle it. I'd only start to worry if the CFL season is a complete write off given the ownership links involved.
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