Mista named first head coach of Atletico Ottawa

FILE PHOTO: Atletico Madrid's Miguel Angel Ferrer "Mista" celebrates his goal against Real Madrid during their Spanish First Division soccer match at Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu stadium October 1, 2006. REUTERS/Felix Ordonez (SPAIN)

(Reuters) - Atletico Ottawa have named former Valencia forward Miguel Angel Ferrer, known as Mista, to be the team’s first head coach, the Canadian Premier League club (CPL) said on Tuesday.

Mista spent most of his career playing in the Spanish top flight, including six seasons with Valencia who he helped win two La Liga titles and the 2004 UEFA Cup.

The 41-year-old also spent time with Atletico Madrid, who in January were awarded the CPL expansion franchise based in Ottawa that will take the field for the 2020 season.

“I’m very excited to be back in the Atletico family, a club I know well and have fond memories of,” he said in a statement. “I’m honored to have been chosen to lead this project.”

Along with his many years of experience playing in Spain’s top division, Mista brings local knowledge to his new post having spent one season in Major League Soccer with Toronto FC.

“I’m lucky enough to have already experienced soccer in Canada,” he said. “That’s why I’m aware of the passion this sport generates in the fans and that’s one of the factors why I’ve decided to take on this new adventure.

“It’s an honor to be the club´s first coach and from this moment on we will work to make Atletico Ottawa a team that competes at the highest level from the very beginning.”

The addition of the club in the Canadian capital gives the CPL, which began operations last year, eight teams.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Ken Ferris