Amer Didic Signs for Atlético Ottawa: A Sense of Inevitability

Amer Didic Signs for Atlético Ottawa: A Sense of Inevitability

Finally! After what seems an interminable saga, Atlético Ottawa have announced the signature of one of the best Centre Backs in CPL history, Amer Didic. This, of course, after rumors emerged earlier this winter about this very occurrence, his presence at winter training camp being leaked at an Atlético San Luis match from fan photos and TV cameras, his announcement at the Season Seat Member event just this past Wednesday, and articles confirming the deal being published by various Ottawa news outlets on Thursday morning. Only now is the news "official", but Didic has seemed an Atlético Ottawa player for much longer.

While born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Amer Didic moved to Edmonton at a young age, and attended university at Baker College in Kansas. He was signed by MLS side Kansas City in 2016, and while making a few appearances for the club, spent most of the next couple years playing for USL outfit Swope Park Rangers, also based in Kansas, and San Antonio FC of the same league. Finally, he moved back home to Edmonton to play in the CPL for the inaugural 2019 season, and after three successful individual seasons for them, he moved to Pacific for the start of the 2022 campaign.

This offseason was a pivotal one for Didic however, as after almost a decade in North American football, and an extremely successful stint in the CPL, he was beginning to turn his eyes towards a possible European move. In fact, reports had it in early February that he had indeed secured that transfer, supposedly to the Norwegian top flight. However, despite assurances that said move would be finalized in the coming days, it never materialized. At the same time, multiple CPL clubs were still bidding for his services, including Forge and Halifax, and of course Atlético Ottawa. Presumably around this time, and after that European move fell through (if it ever existed), Didic made the decision to go on pseudo-trial with ATO, attending their Mexican training camp while continuing to look forward to a move across the ocean. Clearly nothing came of it, and he took Fernando Lopez's offer to spearhead a personnel revolution at the club and to lead their new-look backline for 2024.

Despite painstaking measures to keep this move quiet, it was obvious to those with an eye for these sorts of things. During a team outing to watch sister club Atlético San Luis play in the Mexican second division, fans of the team took the opportunity to get photo ops with the players, and inevitably posted them online. This mass leak also revealed the presence of Manuel Aparicio, Luke Singh, Luca Piccioli, and Zachary Roy at camp, as well as the absence of Liberman Torres, Malcolm Shaw, and Zach Verhoven from the same. After this, clearly club socials gave up on the tight heavy lid, and Didic started featuring prominently in posts about camp and team bonding activities. From then, it was a hop skip and a jump to his announcement at the SSM event hosted at TD Place on April 3rd, and his subsequent public announcement.

With all the offensive and midfield additions this winter, a massive defensive signature was a must, and Didic fills that void expertly. Clearly there has been a focus on the attacking transfers so far, leaving the back line a little threadbare, however a game-changer like him will do wonders to smooth over concerns on the back end. In what will presumably be a back-four formation in 2024, Amer Didic will naturally become the first name on the team sheet, and will most likely play alongside Luke Singh. Tyr Duhaney-Walker and Liberman Torres (when he arrives in Canada) will act as their backups. To their left, Matteo de Brienne will alternate with Maxim Tissot (recently named as an alternate captain), and to their right will be a mystery. Perhaps Zachary Roy, the only natural right-sided Full Back on the roster, Kris Twardek, who has played RWB in the past, or even Abou Sissoko, who has filled in there for Forge. However it shakes out, Didic will be almost a guaranteed starter for the entire season, being a leader Ottawa can be confident in with a defence with so many question marks.

The current squad stands at 20, the minimum possible. Luca Piccioli (a 2024 draftee) and Loic Cloutier are still possible signees to donate depth to the roster, and are currently with the team. Noah Verhoeven and Jonathan Grant are under contract, but due to a loan to Valour and a season-ending injury respectively, do not count towards the cap.

About Alexander:

When he isn't busy playing or watching sports (or going to school at uOttawa), Alexander is busy managing his Atlético Ottawa database, which he started in 2020, and tracks everything you can think of about the club and its players. He also runs a Twitter account dedicated to analyzing and rating CPL players using statistics, CPL by the Numbers.

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