The word “icon” gets tossed around a fair bit in the modern game of football. It sometimes feels like all it takes is one amazing season to be considered one, no matter how the rest of the player’s career went with a club.
But once an awhile, a player comes along who truly earns the moniker of being a true club icon. To me, as a day one fan of Atletico Ottawa, one player stands alone in the clubs short history as being deserved of that coveted title; Drew D. Beckie.
There’s a lot about Drew qualities as a footballer, a captain and a human being that makes him stand out as both a legend of Ottawa footballing, but also as a nominee for the 2022 Golden Scarf Award.
Before I go diving into what it is that makes El Capitan worthy of the Golden Scarf, I want to start with a personal anecdote.
Drew is one of my favourite players, and I got to meet him at the Glebe Central Pub during one of this season’s watch parties.
Thomas Stockting, one of my good friends at CCSG, introduced me as a youth coach. I got to talk to Drew for a bit and pick his brain about life at ATO and the game we were watching, and that’s still up there as one of my best days ever.
Flash forward to the season seat member event where we met the team, the first thing Drew did while shaking my hand was ask how my coaching was going. Wow.
I know that seems like such a small thing, but for a professional footballer, especially one who is a personal hero, to ask a small town amateur coach about his season is so powerfully heartwarming.
Beckie’s most frequently seen in one of the two centre back positions in coach Carlos Gonzalez’s back four, a position he played under former coach Mista as well.
He made his debut on June 26th, 2021 partnered with then-Captain Milovan Kapor. They remained partnered together during a majority of the season, with Drew taking the armband more and more frequently as the season went on. Starting in the 2022 season, following the departures of Kapor and Mista, Beckie took the armband permanently. His personality on and off the field leaves no doubts as to why.
In a league cursed with less-than-stellar officiating, the captain’s are often forced to argue their case more frequently than other leagues. No matter what, if something’s not right, Drew is the first player there standing up for his fellow player.
During play, he can be seen pointing out directions and organizing the players on the field like a sheepdog. The respect his squadmates hold for him is tangible as no one ever second guesses his calls, which is even more impressive since the team hasn’t yet been fully together for more than a season.
Off the field, Drew contributes just as much to those around him as he does on. He is featured very prominently in a lot of Ottawa’s outreach programs like the partnership with Shelter Movers, or visiting The Element High School.
He’s also gone out of his way to know the people in CCSG, something that he absolutely did not need to do but that’s who Drew Beckie is. He comes over to the MDO Pit after every home game to talk to Eddie and Brandon, and he encourages the other players to mingle with us after the games as well.
Beckie’s qualities as a person alone certainly earn his Scarf nod, but his footballing prowess is not something to be ignored.
Registering 39.9 touches a game, 563 accurate passes in 1442 minutes and an impressive 59 clearances with 32 being headers, Drew is best described as a Ball-Playing Defender.
While he’s only landed 8 tackles this season, he’s offset it with 21 interceptions and 3 shots on target. Beckie is quite frequently seen in the middle of every play in the centre of our third and when he’s not physically there, he is definitely vocally present.
Once the ball is to his feet, he picks out a forward and flings the ball to them with the flair and accuracy you’d expect from a veteran like him.
Drew started the season off with two red cards fairly close together after a career without any. Scouting programs like SofaScore and FotMob were quick to add “Discipline Issues” to his profile. I think, however, they jumped the gun.
Drew Beckie doesn’t lack discipline, instead he has more passion for the beautiful game than the referees, and even some of the players around him. He loves this game and this team, and he makes that abundantly clear every time he steps out onto that pitch. He may not score goals like Ballou or Bassett, but Beckie brings the true beating heart and soul of this team to each game.
Drew is, without a doubt, my favourite for the Golden Scarf. What he brings to Ottleti, both in terms of skill and personality, is irreplaceable.
An Ottawa Fury veteran who's made a triumphant return. A resilient player with a history of perseverance, faith, and love for a game.
He may have been born in Saskatchewan, but he is one of our own.