Atletico Ottawa Roster Update: Zapater, Bassett Extend Stays, Others depart
Canadian Premier League side Atletico Ottawa has published it’s end of season roster update, revealing a two player contract extensions alongside handful of departures too.
Of course, negotiations remain with some out-of-contract players, including star goalkeeper Nathan Ingham, who said he was ready for a higher level.
As of today, the club confirmed nine players on guaranteed contracts for the 2024 CPL season: defenders Karl Ouimette and Aboubakary Sacko, midfielders Gabriel Antinoro, Ollie Bassett (who evidently had his club option triggered), and Noah Verhoeven, and forwards Ruben del Campo, Gianni Dos Santos, and Samuel Salter.
As well, veteran midseason addition Alberto Zapater will be returning next season having automatically triggered his option through an appearance clause. The 38-year-old Spaniard made sixteen appearances since his arrival from Real Zaragoza.
The capital city club has until December 31 to decide whether it wishes to trigger option years for Miguel Acosta, Zachary Roy, Zachary Verhoven, and Malcolm Shaw.
The club posted thank you notes for out-of-contract players MacDonald Niba and Sean Melvin, who become the first players to formally depart Atletico Ottawa following the 2023 campaign.
Niba, a 29-year-old Cameroonian defender who arrived last year, was used sporadically this season and tallied 12 league appearances. Melvin was a number two choice under Ingham, and while he had a crack at playing time during an injury spell to the latter earlier this year, never found a groove within the side.
It remains to be seen whether veteran defender Maxim Tissot, also out of contract, will return, though the defender did say he wished to finish his career in Ottawa.
Elsewhere, the paperwork shows loan spells for Jean-Aniel Assi, Ilias Iliadis, Diego Espejo, and Luke Singh have all formally concluded as well. Espejo and Assi, in particular, will prove to be a big miss moving forward.
“We would like to thank everyone who played a part in the 2023 season for their efforts,” added Atletico Ottawa CEO Fernando Lopez.
“Now is the time to reassess our areas of strength and areas of need, to ensure we put a team on the field next season that will compete to achieve our goals. To keep growing we need stability, and to have stability we need results. In 2024 we are looking forward to having both.”
The club also retained the U SPORTS rights for young defender Tyr Walker, who made five appearances at centre-back. The development permit for Omar Darwish has expired, but he’ll be eligible for a U SPORTS deal next season.
See Also: 2024 CPL-U SPORTS Draft Announced
Having gone from regular season champions to missing playoffs this year, change for the better will be the expectation if head coach Carlos Gonzalez is to keep his post. The club that he and his staff would be returning for 2024, where it looks to be ‘playoffs or bust’ for the capital city club.
With no goalkeepers technically on the roster right now, that’s probably priority number one for Lopez and the club to sort. Club CEO Fernandez Lopez has also publicly courted the potential return of Matteo de Brienne.
Atletico Ottawa also teased that it has identified promising new talent in addition to their ongoing negotiations with some of the out-of-contract athletes, and is expected to provide further roster updates in the coming weeks.