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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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    • Remember when Boakai was running rampant against Ottawa in V-cup and got a goal and an assist??  I was more hyped on him than anyone since Jaime Peters.  But it was a simpler time, the LEGO movie gave us all a reason to believe in dreams.   https://the11.ca/teenage-fanclub-boakais-magical-night-propels-fce-into-voyageurs-cup-semifinal-2/ https://edmontonjournal.com/sports/soccer/fc-edmontons-hanson-boakai-scores-call-up-to-canadian-mens-national-team
    • Arfield got a ton of praise for his performance this week too.  BBC had him as the MotM.
    • What a difference a week makes.  Last Tuesday night, I was at the FC Tokyo v Perth Glory match in the AFC Champions League with the anticipation for the start of the J-League season.  Now, no football at all for the foreseeable future.
    • I dont mind KJ either.  He seems to know his stuff.  Look at some of the other goober pundits on TSN...geesh.  I also dont care what he thought about Davies going to Bayern or what he thinks now, Everyone had an opinion and is entitled to one.  I havnt seen where he has slagged Davies, but KJ not being as excited as the biggest Davies fans isnt a crime.  We are the fans, we are the ones supposed to lose our minds.   As for Davies, I didnt think he was going to walk onto one of the best teams in Europe and dominate.  Plenty of people on this board were hoping for a nice loan out this season.  He has upped his game10fold and deserves all the attention and praise.  I think most of us were hoping he could break through, but its mind blowing to think hes done it so quickly.  It could have gone the other way very easily, he could have been buried on the bench with no chance to shine.  
    • So, back to this for a moment. “The Boot” may be getting the boot in this democratic process. Here are some other options: The Belt & The Boot (yah, still like it) The Belt & The Shoelace (humble award) The Belt & The Button (humble, alliterative) The Belt & The Lump-o-Coal The Belt & The Boxers (under-garments) The Belt & The Suspenders (or Garters?) The Belt & The Strap (got the strap) The Belt & The Spoon (common but still good) The Belt & The Galosh (variation on Boot) The Belt & The Welly (short for Wellington) The Belt & The Sandal (specifically, flip-flop) The Belt & The Bonnet The Belt & The Bandana The Belt & The Cummerbund (kinda like that) The Belt & The Pooh (Disney might not like) The Belt & The Bag (holding the bag) The Belt & The (Belt)Buckle (what? Back to this?) The Belt & The Balaclava (hide your face) The Belt & The Sisyphus Rock (google it) Why, yes, I did have a couple of sodas with some buddies tonight, why do you ask? (Let’s get this season started already!)
    • And MLS tv ratings were down YoY in 2019. MLS on Spanish tv has also higher average ratings than English tv. But I don't believe Spanish networks are going to be paying up for MLS rights when liga MX gets 4-5x more along with some other leagues and national team matches. Plus MLS playoff ratings were lower than regular season ratings in 2019. This shows MLS doesn’t have a solid foundation of hardcore fans.  With 40%- 50%+ of MLS teams making the playoffs means the regular season isn't as compelling to watch as the Euro league matches. The quality in the bottom half is also poor which means only hard core locals are only watching. No relegation means no need to watch to worry about facing the true agony of defeat.  The saving grace has been that MLS rights are bundled with US & Mexican national team rights via SUM. So they have been subsidizing MLS. 
    • I don’t mind KJ.  Yeah, he pumps the MLS but that is his job.  I am not going to pretend that makes him any worse than anyone else who stumps for their pay check.  I have liked him since the Score days.  
    • Likely means at least one of Baldisimo, Colyn or Metcalfe is heading out on loan and to the CPL with luck. First take make sense given they didnt feature much in pre-season. It's all a bit unpredictable but potential is there. No superstars but some hard graters and a lot of different skillsets/abilities. The addition of an ACM in dong gyeong lee would be a huge piece of the jigsaw. 
    • I've only seen him on TV a few times during visits home, but I'm pretty comfortable with saying Kristian Jack is a very **** pundit. I get far more insight talking to a random dude down at the pub than I have ever gotten from him.
    • February 17, 2020 York 9 FC Fan Forum and Kit Reveal night. All the audio from the presentation and Q&A. MC Luke Wileman with Angus McNab, Jimmy Brennan and Paul Stalteri. Lots of pictures too!   http://www.rocketrobinsoccerintoronto.com/reports20/20york020.htm Finally an answer to why York has no home games after Labour Day.  Could be trouble if York makes the post season.  
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