Ballou is back! Exciting forward returns to Atlético Ottawa after year with Turkish team

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One of Atlético Ottawa’s biggest stars is coming “home.”

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Atlético Ottawa announced Monday that Canadian forward Ballou Tabla is returning on a three-year contract, joining from Turkish side Manisa FK.

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The forward proved to be one of the brightest sparks in the 2022 season in which Atlético Ottawa was crowned the Canadian Premier League’s regular-season champs.

With seven goals, he was the team’s second-highest scorer and led Atlético in assists (four) as he was nominated for Players’ Player of the Year and Player of the Year.

Following his superb season with Atlético, Ballou caught the eye of many teams and the 24-year-old joined Manisa FK during the January transfer window of the 2022-23 season. Ballou had four goals and two assists in 23 matches. 

“I’m vey excited. I’m coming back home and there’s no better place to be than home,” he said. “I had options, but this was the first choice, the only choice in my head. I had so many great memories, so many great times here.”

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“His ability makes him the kind of player who is worth the admission fee alone, as was evident during our title-winning campaign in 2022,” Atlético Ottawa CEO Fernando Lopez said. “Ballou perfectly embodies Atlético’s ambition in Ottawa and the top-tier talent we’re always seeking to attract. Players thrive in places where they find happiness, and that’s what you get when Ballou is in Ottawa.”

“People usually return to the places where they’ve found their greatest happiness and where they were able to give their best efforts,” head coach Carlos González said. “Ballou’s arrival fills us with joy. We increase our team’s offensive potential with him being, as we already know, a player capable of generating danger on his own.”

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