Ottawa is almost here, Canadian Premier League supporters. The league's first expansion side, which was confirmed last week, will host its introduction event in the nation's capital Tuesday, when Club Atlético de Madrid officials, alongside club staff member Jeff Hunt and commissioner David Clanachan, will unveil its crest, name, and colours. Supporters will get their first touch on the new club, which will bring Canada's first city into its only coast-to-coast professional league. So with CanPL's arrival in Ottawa now imminent, we thought it was time to take stock in the move as a whole. Here's why Ottawa's inclusion is important for the Canadian Premier League in Year 2. RELATED READING: Ottawa CPL club's crest, name & colours to be unveiled next week
Major soccer market in a Canadian league

If you were to list Canadian soccer markets from the largest down, where would you put Ottawa? Fourth-best? Maybe fifth? Truth is, Ottawa is a crucial soccer market in Canada... as proven by Ottawa Fury. Interested parties from MLS, USL, and NASL had seen this potential since the 2010s as one of Canada's largest media markets. The Fury proved this city and surrounding area was more than capable of holding onto a club, as the 1.3-million people in the Ottawa-Gatineau area came out to TD Place – always in the top half of league attendances with growing numbers, the Fury proved an important asset as a club in American leagues. Now within a Canadian league and framework, it's about extending that Ottawa pro soccer influence well into the future. Can Ottawa's professional club give a greater contribution to the game in this country in a fully Canadian setup? Most certainly.
Tying Atletico Madrid to the Canadian soccer scene

What's adding value to the Ottawa professional soccer scene is Atletico Madrid itself. CanPL commissioner David Clanachan said as much in a recent interview with the Footy Prime podcast. "If I was a Canadian boy, whether I was playing with that Ottawa or elsewhere, I know there are going to eyes across the globe looking at players in this league," CanPL commissioner David Clanachan said. RELATED READING: To do list: What's next for Club Atlético de Madrid in Ottawa? It's true. A massive, worldwide soccer brand has its hands on a league, and a player pool, that is only just being discovered. Imagine a player rising through the youth ranks now, only hoping to a league where he can score against Atleti? Or be put into Atleti's worldwide scouting system? It's enticing, for sure.
Incredible fan support

Ottawa's supporters culture, just as the soccer market, has one of the best in Canada for years. Attendance for the Fury has always been good, same goes for when Canada's women's team comes town. More importantly, groups like Bytown Boys and Stony Monday Riot have shown longevity, since they have roots that stretch long past the Fury and into the early 2010s. A swell of support like this does not deserve to be without football for a year or more. In comes the CPL, which keeps the momentum going. Strengthening the roots of a city's supporters scene is of the utmost importance for the game in this country. For Ottawa, a city with an impressive following, keeping professional soccer there is the key.
First bilingual market part of CanPL

CPL's first foray into the more French-speaking areas of this country comes on the south side of the Ottawa River. Let's be clear – this is far from bringing clubs to Montreal and Quebec City, markets that deserve CanPL opportunities, too. But, it is a step in the right direction as CanPL looks to accommodate the Francophones of Canadian soccer. RELATED READING: 6 Ottawa-area & ex-Fury players that could sign with CPL's new team Quebec is absolutely on the radar, as it should be. But perhaps taking a step with a bilingual community like Ottawa, is the right first step. Besides, this will set up immediate rivalries once Quebec sides arrive in CanPL, linking the nation's capital with some of Quebec's hungriest markets. Ottawa vs. Montreal, anyone?

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