Ben McKendry will return with Atlético Ottawa for the 2021 Canadian Premier League season. McKendry, 27, re-signed with Ottawa on Tuesday after appearing in all seven matches in its inaugural season, racking up 457 minutes of playing time. The Vancouver, B.C. native completed more tackles per 90 minutes than any CPL midfielder (6.04), while above-average stats in interceptions (2.01) and line-breaking passes in the final third (0.67) point to a strong run on a team he’d spent just two weeks with before The Island Games kicked off. "Ben is one of the smartest players I have ever met on the field, I am happy to coach him again this year. He is a true leader and we will look for him to be part of our core leadership group," Atlético Ottawa coach Mista said in a media release.
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McKendry made one MLS appearance for his hometown Vancouver Whitecaps in 2017 before departing for Scandinavia, where he played for Finnish top-tier side Turun Palloseura (TPS) in 2018 and Sweden’s Nyköpings BIS in 2019. While McKendry didn’t score or offer much in terms of flashy play in PEI, his abilities as a holding midfielder were on full display across all seven of Ottawa's first-round matches. "After my experience at The Island Games with Atlético Ottawa, it was an easy decision to return to the club. We are building something special in the capital," McKendry said. "We are building something special in the capital and I look forward to getting started with the team and meeting all of our supporters." McKendry is the third Atlético Ottawa player confirmed for the 2021 CPL season, joining defender Brandon John and striker Malcolm Shaw.