Shaw ready to sparkle in Canadian Premier League after one-year delaySaturday, February 20, 2021
By Dwayne Richards
After spending one year waiting in the wings, Tevin Shaw is ready to take his brand of football to Canada, specifically Atletico Ottawa, last year's first expansion team in the relatively new Canadian Premier League (CPL).
Shaw will be the second Jamaican to play in the league, following Alex Marshall, who represented HFX Wanderers in the shortened second season, in 2020.
It was all systems go for the defensive midfielder to take up his contract with the newly formed Canadian franchise last year, having gone on preseason training with the team to Spain.
“I went to Spain with the team for preseason last March. We spent about 5 to 6 days at Atletico Madrid training facility.
“It was a great experience for me, and the weather was great also. It was a great environment, being there was more than inspiring. The facility was great, the weather was wonderful, it wasn't hot or cold, everything was spot on.”
Shaw said that his first experience in Spain has inspired him to start preparing for a return, not just for preseason, but to play for a team in that country one day.
“I want to return there to play, I would really love to, and I am honestly working towards that,” he revealed.
But his dream of playing outside of Jamaica hit a major snag when the CPL was postponed due to the pandemic last March.
The league which was originally set to begin on April 8 was reduced to a shortened one-month tournament, played between August and September last year, where Marshall's team ended as runners-up to the defending league champions, Forge FC, while Shaw remained in Jamaica.
It's a new year with new opportunities and preseason this year begins at the end of the month. Although where it will be held is yet to be finalised, Shaw is raring to go. He admitted, however, that the time spent waiting has been challenging for him.
“It's really a rough time, but I have to stay mentally and physically good. It gave me more time to spend with my family, and I have used the time wisely to get even sharper.”
Even though he knew it was coming, Shaw admitted that there was a sense of relief when he finally got the call from Ottawa, about joining up with the team this year.
“I was anticipating the call, but I must admit that I felt a sense of relief when I got it.”
Despite missing out on an entire year of football, the experienced premier league player says he doesn't think he will be at a disadvantage.
“I don't think I will be at a disadvantage, because I've been working really hard, both in the gym and on the field. Physically I am ready and mentally I am focused,” he explained.
The former Camperdown High School Manning Cup captain, who turns 24 next Wednesday, says that he will be bringing stability to the midfield of his new team, that finished seventh in the eight-team league last year.
“I am hoping to bring stability to the midfield, my experience and some form of leadership,” he stated.
The former Boys' Town, Tivoli Gardens and Portmore United player has been given a heads-up by Marshall as to what to expect when he gets to Canada, and so he is prepared to hit the ground running and make an immediate impact.
“I spoke to Alex a few times and he told me that it was a challenging league, that it was fast- paced, the players are fit and technically good.”
And so, the first mission for Shaw when he pulls on the Atletico Ottawa gear is to fulfil his promise that “collectively we will improve” this season.
The Canadian Premier League is set to begin on May 22, subject to government approval.
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