Atlético Ottawa announced on Wednesday that the club has acquired Canadian winger Jean-Aniel Assi on loan from CF Montréal for the 2023 Canadian Premier League season.
Assi, an 18-year-old attacker born in Ivory Coast, has been part of the Major League Soccer club’s academy system since 2017. In 2022, he spent the season on loan in the CPL with Cavalry FC, playing 21 total games for the Alberta-based team.
Prior to playing for Cavalry, Assi signed a first-team contract with CF Montréal in late 2020. He made an appearance off the bench in their 2020 Concacaf Champions League match against CD Olimpia just four months after his 16th birthday, making him the youngest player ever to appear for the club.
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Having lived in Québec from the age of 10, Assi has represented Canada at several youth international levels. His first involvement with the system came at the 2019 Concacaf U-15 Championship, where he scored four goals en route to a semifinal appearance, and was named to the tournament’s Best XI.
Assi also played alongside a number of other CPLers at last summer’s Concacaf U-20 Championship, where he made three appearances (providing one assist) as Canada fell in the quarter-finals on penalties against Guatemala.
The youngster is a versatile attacker who can play a variety of different positions, including both wings and at right fullback if necessary. Assi will also be particularly useful to Atlético Ottawa as an U-21 eligible player, having accounted for 789 of Cavalry’s 2,000 required U-21 minutes in 2022.
Assi is the third newcomer to join Ottawa for 2023 so far, bringing their officially confirmed roster up to 15 players, with a number of signings yet to be revealed in the coming weeks.