Atlético Ottawa announced at a press conference on Thursday that head coach Carlos González will be returning to the club in the same role next season, having signed a contract extension to remain in the nation’s capital for 2024.
The 37-year-old native of Granada, Spain has been at the helm for Ottawa since the start of the 2022 season. In his first year as Atleti boss, González coached them to their first ever major honour with the regular season title, posting a 13-10-5 record that helped the club vault all the way from last place the prior season to the top of the table.
Ottawa also went on to qualify for and host the 2022 CPL Final under González, although they lost that championship decider to Forge FC. For his efforts in his first season as Atleti manager, González was named the CPL’s Coach of the Year for 2022.
Overall across two seasons in the CPL, González has a managerial record of 25-19-18 across 62 games in all competitions. In the most recent season, Ottawa had several strong runs of form, including July when they went 4-0-1 and González was named the league’s manager of the month. However, they would go on to miss the playoffs by two points, being eliminated on the final weekend of the season.
“I don’t like to leave places where I don’t get the objectives we set at the beginning of the season,” González told reporters in a press conference on Thursday. “I think we have a very big challenge for all the club in this new season, 2024, and I’m grateful and thankful for the opportunity and for the trust in my work and in the work of my staff.”
González went on to add that he began work on planning for the next season “an hour after” Ottawa’s final match of the season against Forge. He acknowledged that, while there were positive moments in 2023, he anticipates changes in the squad as he and Atleti’s front office attempt to build a more complete side.
“It’s an issue we have in our heads, evolving and developing the way of playing and the identity of the team,” González said. “We need the tools to make that, and we’re working on that. We’re working on looking for the right players that can give us the change to get into the next step we are trying to reach.
“My idea is to play a total football. I think you cannot be a team that plays in only one way. I think you have to be good in many things, but it’s true that we want to be a dominant team, that we want to be a team that recovers the ball fast, that we want to play more in the other team’s half of the field and for that we need the tools, we need the players, we need the mentalities.”
Prior to arriving in Canada, González had plenty of coaching experience in a variety of places, including as manager of the Kuwait national team from 2021 to early 2022. He also worked for five years in the Atlético de Madrid youth academy, taking over the reins as head coach of the U-19 team in 2018 and leading them to the Copa del Rey Juvenil final in 2019, where they lost to Villarreal.