Atletico Ottawa brings back Beckie as manager, Espejo will return

Atletico Ottawa brings back Beckie as manager, Espejo will return

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Looking ahead to the 2023 Canadian Premier League season, Atletico Ottawa took some big steps on Thursday while some star players will be seen in Mexico.

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Former club captain Drew Beckie has been appointed team manager. 32-year-old Beckie recently made the decision to retire from professional football as a player after a glittering career that saw the defender play all over the world and culminated in guiding Atletico to a regular-season championship in 2022.

As team manager, Beckie will work alongside Atletico Ottawa’s front office staff, supporting the club from an administrative perspective and as an ambassador within the community. Beckie will be instrumental in helping coaches develop the club’s players.

“As we look to 2023, we have even higher ambitions as a club and my role will be to help us achieve them,” Beckie said in a statement. “Especially in a young league and a young team, it is so important that the players can only concentrate on the game, on what is happening on the pitch. My experience and first-hand knowledge of what it takes to be a pro in this league means I can help them in many ways, while also enjoying being among the fans and community so I can helping them can keep the game growing.”

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Atletico also announced a deal for 20-year-old Spanish defender Diego Espejo, asOutstanding player of 2022, who was at the center of Atlético’s defense 28 times. Born in Spain, he began his football career with CD Tenerife before joining the Atlético de Madrid program in 2016.

Atletico Ottawa and Inter Miami have agreed to send Espejo on a trial with the MLS outlet during their pre-season training camp in Florida in January before he joins the rest of the Ottawa squad ahead of next season.

Meanwhile, two Atletico players will get a look from Liga MX team Atletico San Luis.

Midfielder Ollie Bassett will join Atletico San Luis on probation from January. The 24-year-old Bassett, who was named Canada’s Premier League Player of the Year in 2022, led Ottawa in goals scored and won Player of the Year and Player of the Year awards.

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“It’s probably considered the best league in North America,” Bassett said. “I can’t wait to go there and compete against some of the best players and see how I’m doing.”

Goalkeeper Nathan Ingham will join Atletico San Luis on probation. Ingham, 29, was nominated for a Golden Glove Award for making more saves than any other goalkeeper and keeping nine clean sheets in 25 games.

“I’m most looking forward to competing with the top pros in the world; It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but you have to earn that opportunity and it’s up to me to go and perform,” said Ingham. “I don’t know what their expectations are, but I intend to exceed them.”

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