‘Do You Want To Come And Play?’ Atletico Ottawa Extends Invite To Atiba Hutchison
With rumours circulating that that veteran Canadian international Atiba Hutchinson has left Besiktas JK after eleven seasons with the team, Atletico Ottawa CEO Fernando Lopez was quick to offer a public invitation to the 40-year-old.
The Brampton-born midfielder hasn’t let age slow him down, featuring regularly for the Turkish top flight side since arriving in 2013. The team captain tallied up some 333 appearances after arriving from PSV Eindhoven, and recently cracked his one-hundredth international cap for Canada at the FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar.
Suffice to say, he’d be the highest-profile Canadian to land in the CPL, though Fernando’s invitation was fairly tongue-in-cheek – still, one has to imagine they’d pounce on the signing if the possibility arose.
Hutchinson hasn’t played club football in Canada since he left the Toronto Lynx at the tail end of 2002, though he’s kept eyes on the growing game in his home country: he joined the Simcoe County Rovers as a co-owner last year, where he features alongside high-profile names like Janine Beckie, Doneil Henry, Cyle Larin, and Julian de Guzman.
Hutchinson was one of the men’s national team players who published a letter in support of the women’s national team last week which referred to the Canadian Premier League as a minor league, however.
The Canadian Premier League has proven itself to be a competitive league through both domestic and continental cup action, knocking out MLS competition on several occasions whilst Forge performed well enough to qualify for the Champions League last year.
Atletico Ottawa went from worst-to-first in regular season action last season, ultimately finishing playoffs as the runner-up to the North Star Shield in front of some 15,000 home fans.
The early days of the league saw some rumoured veteran signings with large name recognition like Diego Forlan and Kenwyne Jones, though the league opted to navigate away from a ‘designated player’ type of route.
It’s fair to say the lifestyle of a CPL athlete is quite different than Atiba would be accustomed to, particularly in teams of facilities and travel – though Atletico Ottawa does enjoy an annual stint in Spain using Atletico Madrid’s world-class facilities.
While it’s an unlikely proposition at this stage, Atiba Hutchinson would be quite a draw should ‘The Octopus’ choose to wrap up his career in the province where it began some 21 years ago.
Header Image Photo Credit: Canada Soccer