April 2: Recapping The Last Week In CPL
With the 2023 Canadian Premier League season set to kick off this month, clubs seem to be making their final adjustments: there were no new signings this week, though we had plenty of activity in the international window, two new kits, and a lot of former CPL players in action in the MLS NEXT Pro, MLS, and USL Championship circuits.
Here’s a recap of what went down in the CPL this week:
Roundup: Five CPL Players On National Team Duty
This week saw the international window wrap up, with five former Canadian Premier League players suiting up for their national team.
Halifax Wanderers captain Andre Rampersad finally got to appear for Trinidad and Tobago, enjoying two straight starts as the Soca Warriors recorded a win and a draw against the Bahamas and Nicaragua. Vancouver FC’s Pele Martinez had a tough trip with Belize, who lost against Guatemala and the Dominican Republic to finish bottom of their Nations League group.
York United’s Jonathan Grant made his debut for Guyana and helped them to a 2-0 win over Bermuda, with a scoreless draw against Montserrat following. His club teammate Mo Babouli featured in a one-nil loss to Bahrain after sitting out a friendly match against Thailand. Lastly, new Valour forward Pacifique Niyongabire played for Burundi in back-to-back matches against Indonesia, bagging a goal in the first match with some tidy footwork.
There were some former CPL players in action too, and a full breakdown can be found here.
Capital Clothes: Atletico Ottawa’s New Kits Are Here
While other Canadian Premier League clubs revealed their 2023 threads in a hyped-up event, regular season champions Atletico Ottawa went a different route: they dropped their primary kits in an email blast to season ticket holders on Tuesday night, and then had their alternate look leaked by an accidental store listing the following day.
However they got here, there’s a few big notes on the new look: gone is gambling sponsor ComeOn!, with Maple Lodge Farms now adorning the crest and CIBC arriving as a sleeve sponsor. The primary look features a familiar red-and-white with the camo pattern that is actually the outline of Ottawa, and the alternate look is a frosty, ice-based look inspired by the Rideau Canal.
CPL Talent Shines In MLS NEXT Pro Opening Weekend
Last weekend saw three former Canadian Premier League players find the net in the opening weekend of MLS NEXT Pro, with no less than ten former CPLers earning minutes on the pitch. Toronto FC II and Whitecaps FC 2 fielded the largest contingent of the bunch, which should come as no surprise given their stronger focus on domestic talent.
We took a deep dive on highlights, so if you’d like to read up how the CPL is being represented in MLS NEXT Pro, we’ve got you.
Atletico Ottawa’s Season Ticket Memberships Rise By 30%
Atletico Ottawa recorded the club’s best-ever campaign last season, going from worst-to-first in the regular season and having some 14,992 fans show up for the CPL Final at TD Place.
Now heading into 2023 with plenty of hype, Atletico CEO Fernando Lopez revealed that the club’s season ticket membership growth is up 30% compared to the previous year. Those figures could push the club clear over what former USL Championship side Ottawa Fury was putting in, which is a great threshold to reach.
With another Pay-What-You-Want home opener expected this season, fans still on the fence about ticket purchases will be given a great opportunity to go and test out if the vibe at TD Place is right for them.
Forge Locks In Hamilton United Elite As New Affiliated Development Club
Three-time Canadian Premier League champion Forge FC formally added Hamilton Unite Elite – who fields League1 Ontario men’s and women’s teams – as a Forge FC Development Club. The partnership sees the semi-pro side benefit with technical leadership and guidance from Forge, who will also give the team’s youth player season passes. Hamilton United Elite will also adopt Forge’s colours.
They now join Sigma FC in enjoying an affiliation with Forge, who are clearly taking strides in cementing themselves further into the sporting culture of a city that has certainly taken to the three-time champions.
The arrival of April means that the 2023 Canadian Premier League season is now just a couple of weeks away – and unlike OneSoccer’s Syrup Jug trophy, that’s no joke. Teams are wrapping up preseason camps and putting the final touches in on the training pitch, with perhaps a few youth signings still to come (looking at you in Vancouver, TJ Tahid!).
These recaps will likely shift to a Friday format when the season is here so that they will recap the previous week’s results for readers ahead of the next weekend’s action.