‘I want to repay them’: Goalkeeper Nate Ingham speaks after extending his stay with Atlético Ottawa

Atlético Ottawa announced on Friday that they have re-signed goalkeeper Nathan Ingham to a deal that will see him stay with the club through the 2025 Canadian Premier League season. Ingham is entering his fifth season in the CPL, spending the last two in the nation’s capital following a two-year stint with York United.

The 30-year-old has well over 100 appearances, a combined 31 clean sheets, and two Golden Glove nominations throughout his time with the league.

A long list of accolades already to his name, the Keswick, Ont. native said in a Zoom interview that he’s already exceeded his own expectations.

“I’ve accomplished so much more than I thought I would as a professional footballer,” Ingham said. “I would love to win a couple regular seasons, I’d love to play in the [Concacaf] Champions League, but I don’t feel indebted to the game at all. If anything, I think I’ve beat the system coming from a small town like Keswick as a professional soccer player. … I’m just proud to be where I’m at.”

Despite not feeling indebted to the game as he said, the shot stopper has always had a chip on his shoulder and with that, still has aspirations to prove people wrong.

“When the league started, I was overlooked by a lot of teams,” he said. “You don’t want to be somewhere you’re not wanted and I don’t want to be someone’s second choice. … Ottawa just really appreciated what I brought to the table, on the field and off the field, I respect that and I want to repay them.”

After forgettable season in 2023, Ingham will be the first to say where he feels the problems came from for the sixth-place side.

“[There was] a little inexperience in the locker room who thought because we did something last year, it somehow translated to what this year was going to be. That’s not how football works,” he said. “We went in, I think, a little soft in the preseason. That’s where the issue started. … I was trying to find a way as one of the leaders to stop a tailspin and not turn one loss into more than one loss, that’s something that I was learning on the on the fly and something that I’ve gotten better at over the season and I think we’ll take that into next year.”

Now 30 years old, Ingham said he feels like he’s ‘on borrowed time’, but is having the most fun he’s had in a league he hopes will continue to grow.

“I found these last couple of years, I’m having more fun on the field, which is a great feeling, just trying to grow the game, I want this league to be successful,” he said. “[Ottawa is] the only club that I want to be at. It’s special to me. … I hope I get to sit down in the crowd in years to come and have a beer and enjoy it.”

The goalkeeper is the tenth player confirmed for next season’s Atlético Ottawa squad as of Nov. 24, 2o23, joining: Karl Ouimette, Gabriel Antinoro, Ollie Bassett, Aboubakary Sacko, Noah Verhoeven, Alberto Zapater, Ruben Del Campo, Gianni dos Santos, and Samuel Salter.