Let’s be honest: You’ve probably been a bit too online over the last year or so. It’s likely the product of ongoing isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and our interconnected world that makes checking Twitter or Instagram seem like second nature. Atlético Ottawa has, quite famously, yet to play a game in Ottawa, with health restrictions shuttering the 2020 campaign just a few months after the club’s founding. That forced Daniel Duff, creator of new Ottleti supporters group Capital City Supporters Group, to "reprioritize" the group’s plans just a few months after forming. "We recognized that the online community in Ottawa was open territory that we could fill," Duff told CanPL.ca. "Supporters culture is 24/7 – a lot of supporters groups are focusing on the matchday experience but we want to contribute in a different way. This is a very creative group, we've got a lot of creative people. This comes naturally." Content is at the heart of CCSG’s plans, with creators like Thomas Stockting and Eddie Benhin providing further online commentary. Duff, a former filmmaker, has used his graphic design experience to produce original portraits of Ottawa players that give a retro soccer feel. The group has also held a live interview with striker Malcolm Shaw, something Duff has called "unique experiences" for members. Until games begin and proper gatherings are allowed, all CCSG is are a series of social media feeds and channels (Instagram, Twitter, and a website) which, admittedly, look impressive. "This is the product of a supporters group that has spent zero minutes in the stands," Duff continued. "And our engagement within the soccer community in Ottawa has been limited to four or five viewing parties. "We're in a very impulsive self-rewarding society at the moment and you need to inundate people with content."
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The big ideas don’t end there. When back at TD Place, alongside other Ottawa groups like Bytown Boys and Stony Monday Riot, Duff is open to thinking outside the box – err – outside of the stadium. "TD Stadium is on Rideau Canal – why can't we get a pontoon boat and take it from Parliament Hill? Get everybody to drum on the pontoon with some flares and flags right down to Lansdowne? "Why can't that be a tradition on opening day," Duff asked. "We have an opportunity to do something different and we have to take it." Perhaps CCSG is ahead of the curve when it comes to what a modern supporters group should be? In a pandemic that has led people to the online sphere, it’s certainly the way to grow. Duff hopes to transition these neat graphics and social media interactions to the stands at TD Place soon, eyeing 100 or so supporters in stands when COVID-19 pandemic restrictions allow. "We still have a vast swath of the community that we desperately need to reach," Duff concluded, calling Ottleti the city’s "golden goose" of a club. "We have a new team, we have a new league," Duff said. "This club needed something extra during this time and we’re happy to provide that."