Atlético Ottawa will play for a ticket to the CPL final on Sunday
Carlos Gonzalez, coach of the Red & White team, talked about his experience in Canada in the run-up to the second leg of the CPL semi-finals.
A few weeks ago, Atlético Ottawa certified the regular season championship in the Canadian Premier League (CPL). After a historic season, our sister team looks to move forward in the playoffs. This Sunday the TD Place will vibrate again with his players after the 0-2 obtained in the first-leg against Pacific FC.
In view of such a special match for Ottawa in particular, and all Atléticos in general, one of the main people responsible for the success of the Reds & Whites in the Canadian capital wanted to share his experience with us: Carlos González Juárez.
Carlos González is the coach of Atlético Ottawa. The coach from Granada has signed a first season with his team to frame, but he remains hungry and ambitious for the playoffs: "After a season of honors, now we have a great opportunity to continue meeting challenges and growing as a club". Despite the optimism that is felt in the city, the coach remains calm and wants to go step by step: "We are very motivated and we are aware of the importance of the moment. From the beginning we have focused on the match-by-match formula and that It has given us success, so the most important thing is Sunday's game".
We are well aware of the importance of the moment
Despite the accolades he is receiving, the latest after being nominated for CPL coach of the year, he has not forgotten his past experiences: "Carlos González is still the same person as before, but as a coach I think I have I've evolved a lot. Not only here, but also in recent seasons at Atlético de Madrid Juvenil A or during my time in Kuwait, where I faced very demanding challenges". Especially of his years in our Academy: "Having the opportunity to work again under the auspices of Atlético was perhaps the most determining factor", he says about what most seduced him about this opportunity in Canada.
"Feeling like a team again after my stage as national coach, living that day to day. Besides, it seemed very attractive to me to get to know football in North America, where it is emerging and a lot is being invested so that it continues to develop", are the other reasons that pushed him to opt for this new adventure.
Ottawa is a city of climatic contrasts. The winters are freezing and the differences with the hot months are extreme. That is why the development of the league competition is designed for the months in which the weather is not an obstacle: "When we arrived in April it was quite cold and it was snowing, it was like a very hard winter there in Spain. the high temperatures and the humidity. Luckily at a sporting level it doesn't affect us, because the league is scheduled for those milder months".
"It's a very beautiful city, it has natural landscapes that invite you to go out and enjoy yourself and play sports. Coming here everything reminded me more of Europe after my time in Kuwait, that made everything much easier", Carlos added when being asked about his adaptation to Ottawa and this new experience.
Unlike here in Spain, the Canadian league is made up of only eight teams. Despite the small number of participants, a total of 28 games are played in total throughout the regular season. This is because each team faces each other up to four times and it is something that the coach took into account from the beginning: "It is very rare. Details count a lot, knowing how to compete and manage emotions is more important than the game plan because you know the rival very well. We work a lot on versatility, the variants to defend and attack to be able to have that ability to surprise against the rival without losing our identity".
Despite being a "very young league", Carlos González highly values "the great talents out there. There are young boys with spectacular physical conditions and good technique. When you start competing is when you really realize it". The only handicap throughout the season has been the issue of travel: "They are journeys of 4 or 6 hours, like crossing an entire continent. In addition, you have to adapt to new time zones in the different cities that you are playing".
From the beginning we have focused on the match-by-match formula and that It has given us success, so the most important thing is Sunday's game
Atlético Ottawa's success this season has gone hand in hand with that of the Canadian women's team and the men's qualification for the World Cup. "The football culture here has grown. That is how we have felt it in all the fields where we have been", said the coach about the support they have received throughout the season.
Fully adapted, without the language being an impediment - "I feel that my message arrives with the same clarity and depth as in Spanish so that the players feel and execute what I want"-, Carlos González Juárez and his Atlético Ottawa face Sunday a new challenge in the CPL playoffs. At Atlético de Madrid we also show all our support for our sister club in the second leg against Pacific FC.
¡Vamos, Atleti Ottawa, vamos! For Ottawa! Pour Ottawa!