First of all, let's get it out of the way, there will be a few emails this summer reminding families there is a game coming up on the weekend and discounted tickets are available for purchase. That will be a welcomed message for a lot of us who have been stuck inside during the pandemic. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to head to TD Place for a lazy summer afternoon, a cold drink and a hot dog and some professional footy action to watch.
At the Dragons, unlike other clubs in the city, we are all about kids and their families having fun. Yes, we will have some quality players that will dominate and we will encourage them to pursue their soccer career dreams at a competitive level. However, for most of our members we are looking to instill a love for the game, teach them about active life styles and hopefully become a life long soccer player. Becoming a team player, respecting your coaches and opponents are life skills that translate well away from the pitch. This partnership is as much about off the pitch skills as it is about on the pitch skills.
For those of us that grew up in the 80's and 90's, top level international soccer was limited to a TSN game of the week that was tape delayed from the previous week. Technological advances allow families to customize their media packages and access to top tier broadcasts like the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga is just a click away on any device. Kids today are familiar with the exploits of Barcelona, Bayern and Juventus with Messi, Ronaldo and Lewandowski's every move available on Twitter and YouTube. Atletico Madrid is a club that belongs in the same sentence as those clubs. While in the shadow of Barcelona and Real Madrid for long stretches of their history, Atletico Madrid have won at least one title in each decade since the 1930's except the 1980's. 10 La Liga titles, 10 Spanish Cup titles, 3 Champions League finals and 3 Europa League titles speak of their lasting quality as one of the top 3 clubs in Spain.
Last year saw Atletico de Madrid expand their brand to Ottawa. Atletico Ottawa was born January 29th as a partnership between long serving OSEG owner Jeff Hunt and Atletico Madrid. This project was so important for Jeff Hunt that he moved away from the OSEG group and decided to focus solely on the soccer team. Momentum was building from the Canadian Premier League franchise announcement to the training camp in Spain while behind the scenes the club was reaching out to local youth clubs to establish partnerships and setup standards of excellence. That all came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic. Atletico eventually made their CPL debut during the "Island Games" 2020 season while the Dragons played a modified abbreviated season. To their credit, Atletico never gave up on their goals for the community, and despite working with reduced staff and less than optimal revenue streams, they continued to stay in touch, maintaining their commitment for strong ties to local clubs.
This winter, the partnership program was revisited and Powered By Atletico was born. The Dragons are excited to become the 4th club that joins this club. We go back a long way with Jeff Hunt's soccer franchises, having had a great relationship with the Ottawa Fury. It was important to the Dragons to maintain that same level of community involvement that we've seen before. The community practice was one of the most exciting events of the season while our Dragons day at Fury game was always a hit with our membership. We are happy to announce that those events and more will return with our Powered By Atletico program.
While nobody knows what 2021 has in store, the Dragons are working closely with Atletico to have those events on the schedule. We are also looking forward to having some of our coaches benefit from the experience and expertise of the Atletico staff, both local and from the parent club in zoom or in person sessions and seminars. Our members will have access to Atletico camps and clinics through the season. Basically, Dragons families can have as much or as little as they choose of the Atletico experience.
What you should expect however is improvement at all levels of the club as our board of directors will get opportunities to improve their management skills, our coaches will attend session with world class accredited coaches and Atletico staff. You should also expect some sweet deals on Atletico tickets and gear, maybe some surprise drop in by Atletico players at Dragons events. Do you want to send your kid to Atletico summer camp? You can now do that! Did you ever dream about attending a La Liga game in person? This partnership allows you do you that, you will just have to pay your way there.
Our thanks go out to Jeff Hunt for his commitment to soccer in Ottawa from the grass roots recreational level all the way to the professional level. Thanks to Fernando Lopez, the Atletico Ottawa CEO who has been involved in this process every step of the way and last but not least, thanks to Nicholas Ryan, the architect and builder of this program who's always been there to help advance ideas one step at a time.
The Dragons are excited about this partnership and want everybody to make the most of it!
If you have any questions about the partnership, please don't hesitate
to contact us and we will do our best to respond in a timely fashion.