Atlético Ottawa sign Cape Verde international forward Gianni dos Santos

Atlético Ottawa announced on Tuesday morning that the club has added forward Gianni Dos Santos to its attacking corps on a two-year contract through the 2024 Canadian Premier League season.

Dos Santos, born in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, is a familiar name to CPL fans, having played the past two seasons for Pacific FC. He played 48 games across the two years, including two CPL playoff matches and four in the Concacaf League. He recorded five goals and six assists over that time — the sixth-most goal contributions for Pacific since the start of 2021.

The 24-year-old plays primarily on the wing but can also line up as a centre-forward — memorably doing so in the 2021 CPL Final for Pacific against Forge FC, where he assisted on Alessandro Hojabrpour’s goal to win the Tridents’ first-ever CPL championship.

RELATED: CPL Off-Season Roster Tracker: Who’s in and who’s out for 2023?

Dos Santos was also a hero for Pacific in the 2022 Concacaf League, where his 89th-minute goal in San José brought his side level in the second leg of their round of 16 tie against Herediano. Dos Santos would also score his attempt in the penalty shootout that followed, but Pacific ultimately bowed out to the Costa Rican side.

“Gianni is a dynamic and talented player who will bring something new and different to our forward line,” said Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González. “His pace, technical ability, and eye for goal will be a valuable addition for us, and I am confident he will make a big impact over the next two years.”

At the international level, Dos Santos represents Cape Verde. He accepted his first call-up to the senior national team in 2020, but made his full debut in June 2022 during a friendly against Ecuador.

Prior to signing in Canada with Pacific, Dos Santos had spent his entire professional career in the Netherlands. He made his pro debut in 2017 with FC Dordrecht, before moving on to Sparta Rotterdam — where he played two years with the U-21 side before joining the first team in the Dutch second tier, playing 23 games at that level with both Sparta and Dordrecht.

“We are thrilled to welcome Gianni to the Atleti family,” said Atlético Ottawa CEO Fernando López. “He has shown his quality in the Canadian Premier League and we are excited to see him continue his development and growth with us. We believe he has the potential to be one of the best wingers in the league, and we are eager for him to show his quality in front of our great fanbase.”

With the addition of Dos Santos, Ottawa now have 17 players officially under contract for 2023, as Dos Santos joins a new-look attacking group that includes Samuel Salter and Jean-Aniel Assi. He’s the fifth newcomer to the squad so far, and the fourth international player on the roster.