Drew Beckie Set For Atletico Ottawa Return: ‘I’ll Be Back’
It looks like veteran defender and Atletico Ottawa leadership figure Drew Beckie will be back in the nation’s capital next year.
Speaking with Thomas Stockting during a 2021 season review by the Capital City Supporters Group, Beckie discussed the team’s confidence going into the next season, which led to the direct question of if he’ll be back for it. “Yes,” he confirmed, “I’ll be there.”
The 31-year-old defender completed 19 appearances for Atletico Ottawa this season, marking his first return to Canadian football since he last played for the Ottawa Fury in 2014-2015. The six-foot-two athlete has quickly established himself as a leadership figure in the club, where he’s proven to be a big presence both on the pitch and off.
During his chat with Stockting, Beckie described Atletico Ottawa as a club that ticked all the boxes for him. Despite the fact that Ottawa was the first to be eliminated from the playoff race, a hot run of form at the tail end of the season inspired a lot of confidence – and Beckie is adamant that the CPL club is in a good position to build itself into a more competitive team next season.
We have all the ingredients, front office, budget, culture, that’s all those things going together. It’s here for the taking. We always want things so quickly. We always want that instant gratification. But it takes time, and we don’t want anymore time to go by, but we’re looking pretty confident going into next year.Drew Beckie
Beckie also thanked the fans for their support through the season, with the club’s long-awaited arrival to TD Place enjoying plenty of loud, vocal support. Atletico Ottawa finished the season with the second-highest attendance average in the league, though this figure includes a skewing figure from the club’s pay-what-you-want home opener.
The veteran defender began and finished the season as a de facto starter for the side, though he was unexpectedly sidelined for most of September following a cardiac episode that required hospitalization. This turned out to be the result of complication from a COVID exposure, with his body’s reaction putting plenty of stress on the heart.
Thankfully, Beckie – who had a near-fatal experience with Myocarditis in 2017 – was able to make a full recovery, even scoring on his return to action.
While Atletico Ottawa has yet to make any formal announcement for such, it’s not a surprise to see Drew back set to return to the side: he’s a fan-favourite with plenty of professional experience, and he’s proven to be a level head who can guide the young side through matches. Given what happened to Ben Fisk the previously, however, the return of such a figure was never a guarantee.
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Beckie believes the squad who fought alongside him during this pandemic-impacted year showed a lot of resilience, so it’ll be interesting to see who else joins him for next year’s campaign. This season saw Beckie surpass a career milestone of 150 professional appearances, with more now set to come in the capital.
If we can continue with this business and culture build, then we’ll see dividends going into the future. In terms of the guys in training, everybody was fantastic. Whatever the weather was, too hot or too cold, or a different location with the COVID rules at TD Place, every week was different, I’ll stick with resilience. Whether they spoke English or Spanish, it didn’t matter: we were all together, and it was a really special year.Drew Beckie
Beckie’s football career began in the PDL with the Real Colorado Foxes, with stints in both the PDL and NASL eras of the Ottawa Fury surrounding a selection from the Columbus Crew in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. Before landing with Atletico Ottawa, the bulk of his career was spent stateside with the likes of the Carolina Railhawks, Jacksonville Armada, OKC Energy, and El Paso Locomotive.
In a previous discussion with the Canadian Press, the defender revealed that when he does eventually hang up his boots, both coaching and broadcasting could be part of his future. For now, he told Neil Davidson, he believes he has three or four more years left on the pitch.
While the length or financial details of Beckie’s contract with Atletico Ottawa are unknown, he becomes the first player to announce his return to the club for the 2022 CPL season.