Atlético Ottawa revealed a slate of roster moves on Friday amidst its squad-building process ahead of the 2021 CPL season, including an announcement that captain Ben Fisk will be parting ways with the club.
Ottawa announced that eight players from its 2020 squad will not be returning this year: Fisk, Nacho Zabal, Mohamed Kourouma, Michel Djaozandry, Jarred Phillips, Ajay Khabra, Horace Sobze Zemo and Matteo de Brienne
The club had previously announced the departures of Francisco Acuña, Maksym Kowal, and Ricky Gomes, and Malyk Hamilton confirmed earlier this week that he signed with USL League One side North Carolina FC.
Likely the most significant name on the list is Fisk’s, having been the club’s first-ever signing last winter. Fisk captained Ottawa at The Island Games, playing all seven games and scoring once. Prior to signing with Atlético, the 28-year-old played 26 games in 2019 for Pacific FC, recording six goals.
Kourouma scored the first goal in franchise history in a 2-2 draw with York9 FC (now York United) on Aug. 15, 2020 at The Island Games, while Zabal started all seven games in net for Ottawa in PEI, making a league-high 24 saves and recording two clean sheets.
Khabra is retiring from professional soccer after making 30 CPL appearances with Ottawa and FC Edmonton over two seasons.
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“The work, effort and commitment all of these players have shown to our organization in a very challenging year is something I can’t ever thank them enough for,” Atlético Ottawa CEO Fernando López said in a statement.
“Their professionalism, empathy and work ethic will take them anywhere they want. Atlético will always be their family.”
Ottawa currently has 10 players under contract for 2021, with nine players returning from 2020 (including Canadian midfielder Antoine Coupland), and 17-year-old defender Keesean Ferdinand joining the squad on loan from CF Montreal.
The squad will also be joined in training camp by their two CPL-U SPORTS Draft picks, Cristopher Malekos and Reggie Laryea.