Powley On Next Chapter: ‘It’s Up In The Air’
After three seasons in the Canadian Premier League, Dylon Powley is stepping into an offseason where just about anything could unfold.
The 25-year-old has been transparent about the uncertainty in what will come next, having posted his farewells to Ottawa prior to his departure back home to Edmonton today. What comes next, of course, remains to be seen.
Although the future of my career is unclear, what I’ve learned is whatever is supposed to happen, will happen, and I want to thank everyone in my corner who’s supported me to this point.Dylon Powley
Looking back, it’s clear that it has been a tough season for Atletico Ottawa’s number one: the club’s defensive struggles saw Powley routinely peppered in net, with the goalkeeper recording 93 saves throughout the season – just one save behind league leader and golden glove contender Jonathan Sirois.
While Powley leads the league for passes and recoveries from the back, a league-worst 43 goals conceded reflects what has been a disappointing campaign for both Powley and Atletico Ottawa as a whole, who were the first team eliminated from the playoff race and ended with the worst goal difference and most red cards of any CPL team, too.
Powley faced eleven penalties throughout the campaign, which skews the statistics against him in a way that feels harsh for the performances he put in (think Greg Sutton for early-era TFC, if you will).
In the end, there is no goalkeeper in the league who put in as many minutes on the pitch as Powley this year, faced as many penalties, or tended the net while their club was down a man for as long as he did.
The season also saw Powley establish himself as one of the most vocal pro-union advocates in the league, with the goalkeeper proving a key catalyst in sending CPL brass a unified pro-union message during the bubbled segment of the season.
With the bubble days hopefully wrapped for good and another season now in the books, the 25-year-old finds himself in the prime of his career – and yet, he’s considering stepping away from the pro game entirely. He wouldn’t be the first CPL athlete to do so, and he’d be far from the last.
“It might be a move on from soccer moment,” he admits, “it’s a possibility I’ve been thinking about depending on what this offseason brings.”
At face value, the timing would seem strange: he now has three CPL seasons under his belt, and one year in the Swedish fourth tier prior to that. The former Calgary Foothills man had done well to carve a starting spot for himself out in Ottawa after two seasons as second fiddle in Edmonton.
I came into this year with only one goal in mind, and that was to prove to myself that I belong, and although the results didn’t go our way, and mistakes were made, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.Dylon Powley
Like former CPL athletes Dylan Carreiro or Giuliano Frano, however, private coaching looks like an avenue with a more stable financial future compared to fighting for a contract each year in a still-young salary cap league.
“I actually own my own goalkeeper academy at home,” explains Powley, “where I’m hopefully growing the next generation of pros. But, honestly, just helping provide for kids is always a passion of mine.”
Atletico Ottawa may have just wrapped its second-ever season, but it wouldn’t mark the first time an Atleti player in the prime of their career might step away from the game: midfielder Ajay Khabra hung up his boots earlier this year after citing aspirations away from the pitch, though the club eventually brought him back in as an assistant coach.
Assuming Powley doesn’t return to Atletico Ottawa for the 2022 season, goalkeeper turnover will be a talking point for a side which had already undergone a big rebuild after its debut campaign: goalkeepers Nacho Zabal, Ricky Gomes, and third-string Horace Sobze Zemo departed after the Island Games (the latter two with zero appearances), while this offseason it remains to be seen if 20-year-old Teodor Obadal will stay for a presumed backup role.
With some uncertainty as to whether Mista himself will remain heading into next season, there’s a lot of roster uncertainty in aclub that, despite difficulties on the pitch, has still managed to procure great home support while recruiting strong leadership figures, too. With much improvement needed, it will need both to come through strong next year.
For now, Dylon will have an opportunity to reflect and recuperate back home in Edmonton. With three CPL seasons now under his belt, he’s a known commodity in Canadian soccer circles – but whether he’ll remain in them has yet to be seen.