Atlético Ottawa adds experienced Mexican midfielder Francisco Acuña

Atlético Ottawa’s international contingent continued to grow on Monday, as they revealed the signing of 32-year-old midfielder Francisco Acuña.

Acuña is primarily an attacking midfielder who can also play on either wing, adding yet another versatile option to coach Mista’s Atlético Ottawa squad. He’s a five-foot-five attack-minded player known for his vision and skill with the ball, able to take on defenders one-on-one.

“(Atlético Ottawa) has ambitious goals with very clear objectives with the support of a great institution like Atlético de Madrid. After my career in Mexico, joining a new league like the CPL with plans to grow the game in Canada will be a very important challenge in my career and I hope to give my best for the team and for all the fans,” Acuña said.

A longtime veteran of Liga MX hailing from Hermosillo, Mexico, Acuña brings a great deal of high-level experience to the Ottawa squad. He has over 130 career appearances in the Mexican top flight, plus 37 in the Copa MX and three in South America’s Copa Libertadores.

Acuña began his career with Mexican giants Tigres UANL, appearing 65 times for them between 2008 and 2017, scoring seven times and adding six assists.

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He spent several of his years under contract at Tigres out on loan, playing at San Luis, Atlante, and Morelia before returning to his parent club for a bigger role. Acuña was also part of the Tigres squad that won the 2011 Liga MX Apertura championship.

More recently, Acuña played for Puebla, another major Mexican club, from 2014 until last season (Canadian international Lucas Cavallini was his teammate), minus a two-year loan spell at Lobos BUAP. He featured in 94 games for the Liga MX side, scoring seven times with nine assists, most notably playing all 17 games of the 2018 Clausura championship and bringing Puebla within a point of a playoff spot.

Acuña was also part of the Puebla squad that won the 2015 Copa MX Clausura.

“Due to the kind of person he is both on and off the pitch, he will be a pivotal addition for our team. He is a very versatile player who can contribute a lot in different attacking positions close to the area, doing a lot of damage. We believe that the combination of his versatility and experience will be decisive for the team to achieving our objectives,” Atlético Ottawa CEO Fernando Lopez said.

His inclusion brings the Ottawa’s total number of players up to 11, as he joins other signings such as Ben Fisk, Antoine Coupland, Ajay Khabra, and Malyk Hamilton.

The Mexican midfielder is also Ottawa’s third international signing, joining English fullback Vashon Neufville and Jamaican midfielder Tevin Shaw.