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Atletico Ottawa Manny Aparicio

Aparicio Picks Atletico: Star CPL Midfielder Signs In Ottawa

By on March 22, 2024 0 1307 Views

One of the biggest Canadian Premier League offseason moves of the year is finally done and dusted, with Atletico Ottawa emerging the victors.

Former Pacific talisman Manny Aparicio has signed an two-year-deal in the nation’s capital, with the landmark announcement coming just days after the star CPL midfielder was spotted with Atletico Ottawa in Mexico.

The move includes a club option for a further year, potentially keeping one of the league’s brightest midfielders in Ottawa through to 2026.

Pacific FC Manny Aparicio
Photo Credit: Sheldon Mack / Pacific FC

There’s no doubt about it: Aparicio has been the most sought-after free agent in the league following his departure from Pacific, with several Canadian Premier League sides attempting to woo the attacking midfielder to their own roster ranks, along with some USL Championship and MLS interest, too.

A trusted source had informed us that Atletico Ottawa tabled a substantial offer to Manny Aparicio following last year’s season that, when including player accommodations, could take shape as a record salary for the league.

Though the value of his now-confirmed Atletico Ottawa contract was not unveiled, a club source indicated the deal was actually wrapped back in early February, well ahead of the team’s trip to Mexico.

Atletico Ottawa Manny Aparicio Preseason
Aparicio in a preseason scrimmage, with Didic in the background. (Photo Credit: Atletico Ottawa)

“I was eager to join Atletico for a few reasons,” revealed Aparicio. “First and foremost was the project being built for this year, and the project going forward. The fans and support this team receives, the way the club is growing in the local area, and being part of the Atletico family, what it means to put on that red and white jersey. It’s special.”

The last five seasons have seen Aparicio produce some priceless performances against CPL, MLS, and continental competition during his time in the league. The diminutive midfielder had captained York United in the league’s first two seasons prior to being scooped up by Pacific as a free agent, where he quickly sprang into action out west and helping the Tridents establish their now-trademark attacking identity.

The 28-year-old midfielder scored ten goals for the Tridents throughout 78 appearances, with the tireless box-to-box midfielder proving fruitful in big moments: not only did he score a last-gasp dagger to silence Vancouver FC in their first derby meeting, but he also scored for the side to help knock out MLS visitors Vancouver Whitecaps back in 2021 in a season that would see them finish with the North Star Shield.

Last season saw Manny Aparicio earn a spot in the CPL Best Eleven and a Player of the Year nomination, with his fiery performances having seen him finish second-highest in the league for winning possessions in the final third while finishing the season with four goals and five assists to his name.

Suffice to say, that’s quite a pickup for an Atletico Ottawa midfield that already includes big names like Ollie Bassett and Alberto Zapater.

York9 FC Manny Aparicio
Photo Credit: John Jacques

Aparicio started his career in Major League Soccer with Toronto FC, signing for the first team after turning heads in the TFC Academy ranks. He went abroad after loans to the Wilmington Hammerheads and TFC2, spending the next few years in the Spanish lower leagues with SD Ordenes, CD Izarra, and San Roque de Lepe before returning home upon the launch of the Canadian Premier League.

Having now established himself as perhaps the most potent midfielder in the league, Atletico Ottawa’s capture of the one-time Canada international is an incredible – although likely not final – addition for a highly-fruitfuloffseason.

Atletico Ottawa Manny Aparicio
The photo that initially tipped the transfer.

While it looks like the team looking to add another sought-after free agent in Amer Didic, the club has already brought in a number of star-caliber CPL athletes like Matteo de Brienne, Ballou Tabla, and even former Valour number one Rayane Yesli.

With Aparicio now in the ranks, Carlos Gonzalez and his team will march in to 2024 under the lofty weight of high expectations: with a roster like this, they need to prove title contenders to back up the masterful roster shuffling we’ve seen over the offseason.

Header Image Photo Credit: Atletico Ottawa

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