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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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    • If the CSA could make money, had structural support from the confederation and football was passionately followed in Canada, they would have the will to play friendlies in November. UEFA & CONMEBOL are playing because they can make money off Nations League, Euro playoffs, WC qualifying and even friendlies. Their governments consider elite football important enough to give them covid exemptions. So it is worthwhile for national teams to spend on covid protocols. In Concacaf, only Mexico has the "will" to play. Maybe eventually the US. The friendlies between other Concacaf nations are basically domestiques playing. Canadian governments don't allow this unless you have a CPL style bubble in the Atlantic region. Only viable option is for North American based players to play a friendly in the US against the domestic US based players or a Concacaf nation willing to travel to the US. But it would likely be against the advice of CSA's health experts. For the age of covid, it has laid bare all the structural issues already percolating in a society (but not seen by all) from economic, health & racial/gender inequalities, treatment of elderly, prevalence of unhealthy lifestyles & underfunding of various areas starting with public health. Instead of seeing these issues fester and then unravel over a generation, covid compressed the timeline. Likewise with tech, 5-10 years of advancement/adoption has happened during 5 covid months. Covid also reinforced to what degree a society (and this thread) thinks of the balance between the power of the collective vs any individual. Covid showed how much a society defers or rebels against top down decisions from authority/elite/expert classes. So far, the 5-6 countries/societies who already were on the same collective page and/or already had a high deference to authority have largely escaped being ravaged by covid.  
    • https://www.mlssoccer.com/post/2020/10/31/san-jose-earthquakes-vs-lafc-game-postponed-sporting-kansas-city-vs-minnesota-united Interesting that they just cancelled the Minnesota-KC game outright rather than postponing it. Changing the playoff system to points per game helps in that regard.
    • That is what I’m saying, hence why he could find a spot. He does have Chilean citizenship. 
    • He looks quick to me and a nice inverted winger. 
    • Too predictable... this thread went about how I expected 😂
    • Wasn't/Isn't Bustos the "Chilean Messi" though? He might have citizenship and not count as a foreigner
    • USL canceled both its finals this week due to covid outbreaks. MLS should consider a playoff bubble 
    • Listened to his game against Oxford United on the actual radio, of all things.   2-0. Another clean sheet, another win. Other than a penalty early, which he saved, it didn't sound like the Yellows generated much else.
    • Is there any noticeable maturation in his game compared to his earlier days with the CMNT? My biggest concern with James was that his decision making often seemed naive. He used to have a bad habit of going in for an unnecessary sliding block and taking himself out of the play leaving the opposition with a ton of room on the box. Hopefully that has been coached out of him.
    • I was watching the game up until the 4th goal. He played well, none of the goals was “his” fault....and the yellow was tactical after pressing high unnecessarily. 
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