Introducing OSU Atlético: PLSQ’s ‘Newest’ Team for 2023
The soccer development pyramid in Ottawa is getting a massive shake up in preparation for the 2023 season.
Ottawa South United and Atletico Ottawa jointly announced an extension to the two-year old ‘Powered by Atletico Ottawa’ program which will see the two clubs jointly operate OSU’s PLSQ Men’s first team, reserves, and women’s first team together.
As a part of the new arrangement, the three OSU PLSQ sides will be rebranded as OSU Atletico with all of them swapping out the classic OSU blue for the famous and classic red-and-white stripes of the Atleti family. Ottleti will also now be in a position to help OSU identify players for the PLSQ squads, which, in turn, then has the potential to create home-grown soccer stars that Atletico could then bring to the CPL level.
“This PLSQ program will help bridge the gap between those who have graduated from their respective youth clubs and stepping into professional first-team soccer in Canada and beyond” says Atletico Ottawa’s CEO Fernando Lopez, noting the importance of the Canadian soccer pyramid.
Perhaps of most importance to this renewed partnership is how this will affect the development of soccer talent within the National Capital Region. While the main focus has been placed on Atletico’s new-found role within the PLSQ side of operations, and rightfully so, this pathway to pro is much clearer now, beginning at the grassroots level.
Included within the announcement was the above graphic, which clearly shows a direct line from the grassroots level of soccer to the pro leagues. Ottawa South United, having programs starting at the U-3 age group all the way to the adult competitive and recreational levels, will now be the go-to club for all those dreaming of a future in pro play.
Ultimately, this is a win-win scenario for both Atletico Ottawa and OSU, as the former now has a dedicated talent pool from one of Canada’s most successful youth clubs to work with, while the latter gets a significant investment from of the biggest clubs in the world and their city’s pro side.
The timing of this announcement, in the lead up to the 2023 season, is particularly relevant for both clubs. For Ottleti, they are coming off a championship-winning season and have big hopes but need to fill the holes left by departures like Sergio Camus, Balou Tabbla, and Keven Aleman.
As for OSU, the club is trying to rebuild following a devastating 2022 PLSQ season which saw their men’s team end the year with a 1-2-19 record. We recently did a season review with OSU’s Director of Soccer Operations & Community Engagement Craig Stead and Head Coach Peter Mapendere. You can read more here.
The 2023 PLSQ season is set to kick off sometime in the late spring with it marking OSU Atletico’s seventh season at the semi-professional level and only their second full season within the PLSQ.