CCSG by the Numbers: Amer Didic

CCSG by the Numbers: Amer Didic

Out of all the massive moves Fernando Lopez and Atlético Ottawa have made this offseason, this might be the biggest: Amer Didic, capping off an absolutely historic off-season in the nation’s capital. In the following piece, I will attempt to convey just how tremendous this transfer is using statistics, with the help of an advanced analytics model I created myself. As usual, I will break down Didic’s 2023 CPL season, cover his strengths and weaknesses, and overview his CPL career thus far (as described by my model). Let’s begin.


To start with the obvious, Didic is a tremendous player. In fact, according to my model, he was the best player in the league last season, ranking ahead of the likes of MVP winner Daan Klomp, MVP nominee Ali Musse, and fellow CB Dan Nimick. Looking at his stats, it is clear why. He ranks in the 95th percentile or above for both Duel and Aerial success, leading to a 98.2 Strength rank. He also had amazing Blocks and Clearances rankings, placing him in the 91st percentile for Defensive Actions. His ball recovery is similarly immaculate with a 96.4 Tackle/Interceptions mark, his 81.9 Passing grade is incredible for a CB, and he was also extremely press resistant with a 93.9 1v1 success ranking. If that wasn’t enough, he was also able to contribute at the other end of the pitch, by way of a 69.5 Goals ranking and a 47.3 Assists grade - most of his goals came from his head on the corner routine - but he was also able to create them himself. 

Quite frankly, Didic had no statistical weaknesses for a Centre Back. He ranked below average in only five of 18 categories, and two of those are just below 50. Those other three are not ones a CB is expected to succeed in anyways: Crossing and Chance Creation are both offensive ranks, and Foul Differential is always going to be negative for defenders - thus it is safe to ignore them. If you could find one nitpick in this signing, it's that Didic isn’t the most mobile of CBs. He’s a big man, and can sometimes be caught out on the break, so his partner should be someone quick on their feet to recover any counterattacks. 


Over his five-year career, Didic ranks as the best-ever CPL player according to my model. He has been remarkably consistent as well, with four of those five seasons achieving a WPA grade of 82+. In his one “bad” season, he still ranked as the 25th-best player in the league, and in the remaining seasons ranked 2nd (2019), 5th (2021), 1st (2022), and 1st again (2023). In fact, those last two seasons rank as the 2nd and 4th best individual seasons in CPL history (with the exclusion of 2020 for sample size reasons), again according to the model. When asked about the best-ever CPL players, fans will generally respond with players like Tristan Borges, Kyle Bekker, Marco Bustos etc. Defenders usually get overlooked for lack of offensive contribution, but stats are impartial (mostly), and Didic is the epitome of this for his stellar contributions to the defensive side of the ball these last few years. 

Frankly, this encomium and the stats contained therein are probably unnecessary. If you have been paying any attention at all to the CPL, you will be aware of how good Didic is. Thus, we can transition to a projection of how he will fit into the ATO set-up for 2024. Although he will almost certainly be the first name on the team sheet, his partner(s) are still up in the air. With the departure of Karl Ouimette, the CB depth is very thin to start the season. As such, the formation will probably only call for two CBs, instead of the three-man setups manager Carlos Gonzalez usually favours. Luke Singh returning on loan will therefore act as the presumed second starting Centre Back, with Tyr Duhaney-Walker and Torres acting as the next men up. Loic Cloutier, who is currently on trial with ATO from CF Montréal, is another CB who could bolster depth if he gets loaned, but might also be called to start at RB after Jonathan Grant’s season-ending injury. If it comes to it, Maxim Tissot can also put in a shift at CB, although presumably only in a back three, which considering the other options is now inadvisable. 

Outside of Didic, the remaining centre backs on the roster are lacking in number and in experience. As such, it's imperative Didic remains healthy to provide a stabilizing presence on the pitch, while also being able to mentor his young colleagues off the pitch and in training. In terms of ideal partners for Didic, my lineup would include Duhaney-Walker, who is fast enough to cover for him (Didic), as well as giving Tyr an extremely solid partner to grow alongside and cover for his own mistakes as an inexperienced player. However, given tenure and as probably being the second-best overall CB, Singh will most likely be given the nod. It isn't ideal, however the constraints of an extremely strong attack and a consequently thin backline require sacrifices. 

All that being said, and remembering just how good Didic is on his own, his signing is obviously still a massive addition to the roster for 2024. In fact, it’s hard to overstate just how big it is to have a proven, MVP-calibre veteran CB who makes others better around him at the core of the back line. Even if the supporting cast isn’t the shiniest, he will do enough by himself to ensure at least an average defence next season, and to allow the attack to do their jobs effectively. Amer Didic will most likely prove to be the last big-name signing this offseason, capping off a historic winter break for Fernando Lopez and company that will most certainly be remembered as one of the best off-seasons in CPL history (proving the squad do well during the season of course). If there any more announcements, they are sure to be minor depth options, but if any come from the CPL look forward to another statistical breakdown from myself. Stay tuned!

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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