April 16, 2024
  • April 16, 2024
Atletico Ottawa Amer Didic

‘Something I Was Looking For’: Why Didic Chose Atletico Ottawa

By on April 4, 2024 0 795 Views

With the stage set and the crowd of Atletico Ottawa supporters present already buzzing, the noise level went to eleven when Amer Didic stepped onto the stage last night: unveiled as the club’s latest signing, the star CPL defender caps off what has been an all-time great offseason in for the nation’s capital.

The six-foot-four defender was a rumoured arrival after being spotted with the club in Mexico last month, with sources indicating that Amer was training with the club while trying to reconfigure a botched move to the Norwegian top flight. Instead, he’s now signed a one-year deal with a club option for 2025, joining former Pacific midfielders Manny Aparicio and Ollie Bassett over in Mexico.

“This is going to be a new challenge, and that’s something I was looking for, a new environment,” Didic told the Ottawa Citizen following his unveiling. “Ottawa was able to provide me with this type of thing. The club’s vision lines up with me in terms of football, as well as being able to live in this city.”

Multiple CPL clubs had reached out to the sizable defender following the season’s end, but after a period of European interest that included a botch transfers to Odds BK, it was only Atletico Ottawa that drew the veteran back in – though there is an understanding he will be allowed to pursue a European move should a reasonable one arise.

Atletico Ottawa Amer Didic
Photo Credit: Iain Leitch

The rapturous crowds at TD Place – who stand with Hamilton and Halifax as the league’s most well-attended – proved to be a draw, with Amer describing the atmosphere as having a real buzz. Having played in Edmonton and Langford, Ottawa will mark the veteran defender’s first domestic playing stint in Ontario.

“It was always special winning three points here, and now that I’m on the other side of things it’s something I’m going to take great pride in. It’s going to be exciting,” adds Amer.

The centre-back had tallied 63 appearances for Pacific FC over the last two seasons, earning a defender of the year nomination during his debut Tridents campaign. He made waves when he left Pacific at the end of the 2023 CPL season, which is when Atletico Ottawa had first tabled an offer to the defender.

The twice-capped Canadian international had also been a stalwart servant for hometown club FC Edmonton through the first three Canadian Premier League seasons, making 48 appearances and cementing himself as a no-nonsense defender with a commanding presence on the pitch.

Pacific FC Amer Didic
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

After capturing both the most highly-coveted free agent defender and midfielder in one offseason – all while bringing in CPL heavy-hitters like Matteo de Brienne, Aboubacar Sissoko, and Ballou Tabla – it’s clear that Atletico Ottawa is going above and beyond to restore its as a playoff contender.

Head coach Carlos Gonzalez had helmed the team to a CPL Final in 2022 before missing playoffs entirely last year, describing his new reinforcement as a player who consolidates the team’s much-transformed back line. Last season saw Didic lead the league in aerial duals won, with the defender finishing amongst the top ranks for duels, interceptions, and passes, while also proving a threat on the other end of the pitch with four goals.

“With the addition of Amer, we signed one of the most reliable defenders in the league,” touted Gonzalez. “We consolidated our back line with a player that has a natural ability to win individual battles, very powerful in the aerial game and with a very safe building of the offensive play.

“We are very happy to have him in red-and-white since apart from his qualities already mentioned, he will provide us with experience and leadership from the defensive line,” added the gaffer.

The Atletico Ottawa defensive unit will look quite different from last year’s, with Diego Espejo’s loan expiring and defenders like Macdonald Niba, Miguel Acosta, and the veteran Karl Ouimette departing. Not all of the arrivals to replace them have worked out as planned, however, with Guyana international Jonathan Grant suffering a season-ending injury shortly after his arrival.

Whatever way you cut it, however, Amer Didic is the kind of signing who can lead the backline for example. While Didic has long been hailed as a league-leading defender, he wasn’t with Pacific when the club won the playoff championship in 2021. The expectation in the nation’s capital is clear: Amer will want to build his domestic trophy cabinet, though if a reasonable offer from Norway comes in it is expected the defender will be granted the opportunity to go.

Quote Source: Ottawa Citizen

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