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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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  • Posts

    • Did I miss that his loan is for 2 1/2 seasons, all in? Surely his contract will be up by the time his loan ends in '22.
    • LigaMX is a very respectable highly competitive league but I feel Stephen will attempt to aim higher. Wouldn't be shocked if he has interest from the top teams in Portugal by next summer. Especially if he's free 
    • If you look at what he said (vs what the author interprets) I don’t see a lot that suggests a strong interest in returning.  He says what you would expect - he got along with some of the players, the club treated him fine, and he has to talk to the coach once his loan spell ends.  That is all fairly standard - and I wouldn’t take any of it to mean that he has a strong interest to return.   He just isn’t burning bridges, which is the smart/diplomatic thing to do at this point.  
    • No, he hasn't done it yet, but he sounded very open to it. He's obviously good enough to play at a higher level, but it's ultimately up to him.
    • https://canpl.ca/article/5-things-to-watch-for-in-football-manager-21s-cpl-database  
    • It's explained in detail pretty well here: https://impactsoccer.com/news.php?id=2042, but you'll have to translate if you don't speak French.
    • Unfortunately, CPL really is the best he and we can hope for.  We all wanted it to work for him, but anyone who's seen his games the past 2-3 years can tell you his body can't take 90 minutes.  Its strange, he's young, seems in shape, but just doesn't have the stamina.  He's utterly gassed at 60-65 minutes, and that's without even covering much ground.  If he does last more than 75 minutes he gets carted off from injury.  Its the weirdest thing.  I don't know if its just the way his body is or poor training/diet.  No choice but to use him as a sub if you're a goal down, otherwise if you start him, you know you're wasting a change on a young forward, which is a huge disadvantage strategically speaking.  Besides that, he looks awfully rusty.  Really needs some minutes to get some confidence and timing back.
    • Considering his contribution, AJH was on a pretty nice contract with Montreal, I think he was making low-to-mid 100k.  At this point he may have enough financial security to be willing to take on a CPL contract, so that he can score a few goals and generate some buzz for himself, perhaps even leading to a European opportunity. Or the reverse could be true and he may not be willing to take such a pay cut. Sometimes you need to take a step back to take two steps forward. If his Montreal days come to an end I can't imagine he wouldn't be at least considering the CPL.
    • Back in 2017 he was probably our 3rd best striker. He's definitely nowhere near that right now though and probably doesn't have a future with the CMNT since he's now 27 and hardly playing. BUT I think he'd be a great CPL signing and would raise the level of the league for sure. I hope more guys who are still MLS quality-ish but aren't getting opportunities would go to the CPL, it would be win-win if they don't mind lower pay. 
    • With Champions league games in December how does this announcement impact the eligibility of these players, assume they are under contract until December 31st.   "Le club n’exercera pas l’option des contrats des milieux de terrain Bojan, Steeven Saba, Shamit Shome, ainsi que celui de l’attaquant Anthony Jackson-Hamel.'
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