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Atletico Ottawa lands major partnership before heading to 'The Island Games'

Ottawa Atlético is a first-year franchise in the Canadian Premier League.
Ottawa Atlético is a first-year franchise in the Canadian Premier League.

On the eve of departure for its first Canadian Premiere League competition, Atletico Ottawa was feeling a strong sense of support from its community.

When Atletico takes off for The Island Games on Saturday it will be armed with an instrumental-to-stability deal that its predecessor, the Ottawa Fury, never did secure. Announced Friday was that Ottawa South United (OSU), recognized as a Canadian leader in player development, has become the first member of Atletico’s ‘Community Partnership Soccer Program.’

The partnership’s goal is to promote soccer by getting more people to play at the grassroots level and growing the sport in the national capital region.

“It’s a very important deal and partnership for us,” said Jeff Hunt, Atletico Ottawa’s president. “I think it just shows that the soccer community is really embracing Atletico’s presence, even in the midst of COVID.”

With TD Place unavailable, Atletico has been using OSU’s facility to practice for the last couple of months. Through the agreement, OSU will have access to coaching development, player development, Atletico player appearances, open practices, along with team store and match discounts.

OSU’s men’s and women’s teams in the Premiere Ligue de soccer du Quebec will wear a “Powered by Atletico” crest on their sleeve. The program ensures “integration within the Ottawa community and welcomes future partnerships with soccer organizations” across Ottawa.

“It is important for the growth of soccer in Ottawa and Canada, that our whole local soccer community does its part in supporting the long-term success of Atletico Ottawa,” said OSU president Bill Michalopulos.

In the meantime, Atletico joins its seven CPL partners headed to “The Island Games,” which begin next Thursday in Charlottetown, P.E.I. and mark the return to play of the league. A round-robin tournament at UPEI Alumni Field will see each team play seven matches, one against every other team in the league. The top four will advance to the playoffs while the bottom four go home. From there, a champion will be determined.

All told, The Island Games will cover about 40 days, while all matches and will be available on OneSoccer, the CPL’s media partner, which has among its subscribers Atletico season ticket holders. It’s expected that some round-robin games as well as the playoffs will be televised on a national network.

“I’m anxious to see how we fare against the rest of the league,” said Hunt. “I’m confident we’ll be very competitive.”

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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