'Take my game to highest level': Atletico Ottawa's star duo earn Liga MX trials
Atlético Ottawa quietly built a Canadian Premier League powerhouse in 2022, and with a shared parent club in Atlético Madrid and a pipeline for the exchange of talent previously-established through incoming loans of players like Diego Espejo and Victor Moragrega from Atlético Madrid and Atlético San Luis respectively, Ottawa's own talent has now attracted outward attention.
League MVP Ollie Bassett and star goalkeeper Nathan Ingham have earned trials with the organization's Liga MX outfit, heading to San Luis in an attempt to earn moves at a higher level.
Bassett, 24, enjoyed a standout 2022 campaign with Ottawa, leading the team with eight goals in 31 appearances and earning the league's Player of the Year and Player's Player of the Year awards despite his team falling just short in the 2022 finals vs. Forge FC. The league MVP is heading over to San Luis with a clear goal: Take the next step in his growing career.
"As a player, you always want to be playing at the highest level that your game and ability can take you, so I'm extremely excited to have been presented with such an opportunity," Bassett said, as quoted by CanPL.ca.
"It's probably ranked as the best league in North America. They have produced top players and some that have just returned from the latest World Cup.
Here we go… 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/4CUAIEzI5y— Ollie Bassett (@OllieBassett28) January 4, 2023
"I can't wait to head there and test myself against some of the best players and see how I fare. I've said it many times before but, I really do believe that if it wasn't for Atlético Ottawa and Fernando López and Carlos González this opportunity probably wouldn't have come about and I'm really grateful for the Atlético organization for sorting this out and giving me a chance to take my game to the highest level that I can."
Ingham echoed that sentiment, offering: "It's a massive opportunity, when you get the phone call you don't know what's coming and it was really good news. I've had to speed up where I was in my off-season but I'm really excited and we'll see what comes of it. I'm most excited about measuring myself against the top pros in the world, it's something I've always wanted to do but you've got to earn that opportunity and it's up to me to go and perform, I don’t know what their expectations are but I plan on exceeding them.
"I don't know if this happens without me being in Ottawa, what this club has brought to this country and this league is a massive step in the right direction for investment in Canadian soccer."