The Canadian Premier League confirmed the worst-kept secret in Canadian soccer on Wednesday, officially unveiling Ottawa as the league’s first expansion team.
It's Official— CanPL (@CPLsoccer) January 29, 2020
We are proud to announce that the city of Ottawa will be joining the Canadian Premier League in 2020 and will be owned by Club Atlético de Madrid.#CanPL l Full Press Release: https://t.co/YikI41IuJ9 pic.twitter.com/FPQ3NexbhK
Based in Ottawa, the team will be owned and operated by La Liga giants Club Atlético de Madrid.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ottawa as the Canadian Premier League’s 8th Club and Club Atlético de Madrid as our newest owners of the Ottawa club,” said Commissioner David Clanachan. “We are very excited to launch the club with one of the world’s most iconic and successful soccer brands and look forward to them taking to the pitch for the 2020 CPL season.”
After a mostly successful inaugural season in 2019, the league’s decision to add an eighth team made a lot of sense for a number of reasons.
Firstly, having an even number of teams can create a balanced schedule, possibly with each team playing each other twice home and twice away, for 28 regular season games. Ottawa is also Canada’s capital city. Having a Canadian league without a team in the nation’s capital felt wrong in year one, and adding an expansion team in the area will be a huge boost to the league off the pitch as well.
After the Ottawa Fury folded a few months ago, a couple of their players have moves elsewhere, and many remain unsigned. Creating a new Ottawa team so quickly means that the players yet to sign elsewhere have the option to stay in Ottawa if the opportunity were to present itself.
“We are delighted to be part of such an exciting project in an amazing country. We would like to bring our expertise to a very strong and structured league and will work together with the CPL and the rest of the clubs to contribute to the growth of Canadian soccer. We want Ottawa soccer fans to be able to feel proud of belonging to the Atlético de Madrid family so we can start sharing our values with them,” added Atlético de Madrid´s CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín.
According to the league’s release, Ottawa will begin play in April 2020 at TD Place. More information will be available on Feb. 12 at the team’s public unveiling event, where it’s possible that the name and logo of the team will be revealed.