By Joseph Huneault
The most unique and arguably most stressful player role in football is that of the goalkeeper. When push comes to shove, they are all that stands between the attacking team and their goal. To face down attacks every week requires nerves, skill and confidence, somethings that this year’s CCSG Golden Scarf Nominee Nathan Ingham has in droves.
While Nathan has certainly made an impact ever since he arrived from York United in 2022, this season has shown a different type of maturity from the Newmarket, Ontario native. The start of Ingham's campaign was impeded by a hand injury, forcing him to the sidelines as Atletico Ottawa began to defend their title. While backup keeper Sean Melvin deserves plenty of respect for his time between the sticks, Ingham returned to Ottawa’s goal with a fire in his eye.
In the first five games back, Nate made 12 saves and recorded 3 clean sheets. He kept his pace up, and by the end of 2023’s Game #99, he has kept a rate of 2.3 saves per game with a total of 44 saves, kept 6 clean sheets, and recorded an impressive 7.8 recoveries per game.
On top of his statistical contributions, Nathan has also taken more than a few times with the captain’s armband. While replacing Drew Beckie would always have been impossible, Nathan has made his own reputation as an organizer on the backline, often morphing the shape to what he believes the team needs, and looks comfortable working with the experience levels that range from Diego Espejo to Alberto Zapater.
Ingham was able to show some of his off-field personality during the offseason, as he showed off his mixology skills during the 2022 World Cup on an Instagram series creating game day cocktails to enjoy at home. He continues to show his charisma each and every game, leading the team over to The Dub postgame no matter the result, and always taking time to shake hands with the Capos and sign things for the kids in the stands.
Thanks to a penchant for heart-stopping, game changing saves, Nathan has often been awarded the All-State Save of the Match. Now, the nickname of All-State Nate has ensured that even the most casual of ATO fans are aware of his name. Add that to his recognizable purple or light green keeper kit and signature half-up ponytail, and Nathan Ingham ensures he is one of the most noticeable men on the pitch.
With the tactical changes made to the team this year, the steady gloved hands of All-State Nate can be seen as the polyester lighthouse that may yet guide the squad to back-to-back playoff appearances. While a successful trial with sister club Atletico San Luis may create some worry he may be departing in the offseason, Nate still shows every match that Ottawa is the city he plays for now. His passion, like his skill, is undeniable, and the keeper well deserved his close runner-up finish for the 2022 Goalkeeper of the Year award.
With just a few more matches remaining this season, one thing can be for sure: Nathan Ingham will be there, between the posts, eyes locked on the play and ready to show once again why he is All State Nate, and why he is deserving of the 2023 CCSG Golden Scarf Nominees.
Joseph Huneault is a writer for CCSG by night and a semi-professional football coach by day. He’s been a day one fan of ATO and currently coaches for one of their “Powered By” clubs, the Nepean Hotspurs. Joseph is known around the Ottawa soccer world for his love of stats, whiskey, and a unique sense of humour. You can often find him in the Dub in his red jumpsuit and purple headband, screaming at the top of his lungs.