Atlético Ottawa are in contention for the top spots in the Canadian Premier League this year, just one season after finishing in last place, and a star teammate is helping them rise to the top.
Canadian forward Ballou Tabla is someone to watch.
“We want to get the three points,” Tabla said, as the team prepares for an upcoming game against FC Edmonton.
This is Tabla’s first season with the club after spending time with FC Montreal and Barcelona.
The 23-year-old has represented Canada in several tournaments, including the 2015 U17 Championship.
“I’m happy with the club, I’m happy with my teammates,” he said.
“A player like Tabla is one of the reasons football is called the beautiful game,” said Capital City Supporters Group member Thomas Stockting. “What he can do with the ball with his feet is immense.”
So far this season, Tabla has played 18 games including a Canadian Championship, has three goals, three assists and played over 1,300 minutes.
“Anytime you have the chance to play with the amount of talent that Ballou has… what an opportunity,” said Atlético team-mate and midfielder Carl Haworth. “Once he gets a few more goals in his game, I think he’ll be amazing.”
His presence is already making the difference on the pitch.
“Ballou is a great guy, he works so hard to get his best performance. I think he gave us a lot not only in attack but also in defense,” coach Carlos Gonzalez said.
Tabla’s play on the field reignited a football frenzy in the nation’s capital. With at least three years on the contract, fans can’t wait to see how far this team will go.
“We have a great fanbase, they make us proud, we have to make our fans proud,” he said.