March 3rd, 2024

Atletico Ottawa acquires goalkeeper Rayane Yesli from Winnipeg’s Valour FC

By The Canadian Press on February 9, 2024.

Yesli, a nominee for Canadian Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year last season, has joined Atletico Ottawa in a transfer from Winnipeg-based Valour FC. Rayane Yesli poses for a photo in Ottawa in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Atletico Ottawa, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Atletico Ottawa has acquired Rayane Yesli, a nominee for Canadian Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year last season, in a transfer from Winnipeg-based Valour FC.

Midfielder Noah Verhoeven, who extended his contract through 2025, is going the other way and will spend the 2024 season on loan with Valour.

The 24-year-old Yesli, who spent the last two years in Winnipeg, joins Atletico on a one-year contract with a club option for the 2025 season.

Yesli joins incumbent Ottawa ‘keeper Nathan Ingham, who signed a new contract. Sean Melvin, a Victoria native, left Ottawa to sign with Pacific FC earlier this month.

“This addition makes us very proud, we will have two great goalkeepers,” Ottawa coach Carlos Gonzalez said in a statement. “At the end of the day, it gives us the target we were looking for in the design of the club which is: having two very reliable players in each position so there is healthy competitiveness and the team can be the beneficiary of this situation.”

Born in Algeria, Yesli and his family moved to Montreal when he was two. He joined the CF Montreal academy, then known as the Montreal Impact, before moving in 2018 to Italy where he helped Vibonese win promotion to the Italian third tier.

Returning home, Yesli played university soccer for the Montreal Carabins. Valour drafted him in 2021.

Yesli, 24, was a rare bright spot for Valour in 2023 when the team finished last in the league at 6-14-8. His 81 saves were second among all CPL goalkeepers.

Valour, meanwhile, has signed Canadian goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi. The 32-year-old comes from Vaasan Palloseura in Finland where he conceded five goals in eight appearances.

The Ottawa-born ‘keeper has accumulated 153 professional appearances in England, Sweden, Finland and North America.

A former Canadian youth international, Verhoeven is a product of the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program.

The 24-year-old from Surrey, B.C., made 27 appearances last season with Ottawa last season with one goal and two assists. He has 111 career CPL appearances since 2019, also spending time with Pacific and York United.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2024

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