The Canadian Soccer Association announced its finalists for the CSA player of the year awards this week, so I thought I'd weigh in with my two cents on who should pick up the hardware.
Male Player of the Year
Anyone who knows anything about Canadian soccer will vote for one man, and one man only: Atiba Hutchinson.
Voted player of the year in the Danish Super Liga for his stellar play at FC Copenhagen - that's right, player of the year for the entire league - Hutchinson has since moved on and joined one of the best clubs in the Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven.
Canadian players have had success overseas before. Alex Bunbury was voted foreign player of the year during his time at Maritimo in Portugal, and various players have won MVP awards for their clubs - Julian de Guzman at Deportivo la Coruna in Spain springs to mind. But rarely has a Canadian garnered such a lofty accolade, and then moved on to a higher level at another club.
There will be some that question the strength of the Danish Super Liga, and they will suggest that Hutchinson's achievement is not that impressive because of the relative weakness of the league.
It is not like Atiba was playing in a pub league, and FC Copenhagen regularly competed in the UEFA Champions League during his time there. Kudos where they are due - Atiba Hutchinson is Canada's top player right now.
Other candidates, in no particular order, are Nana Attakora, Adrian Cann, Dwayne De Rosario (all of Toronto FC), Simeon Jackson (Norwich City, England), Will Johnson (Real Salt Lake), Josh Simpson (Vestel Maniaspor, Turkey) and Adam Straith (Energie Cottbus, Germany)
Female Player of the Year
On the women's side, I am going to take a break from the norm.
The player of the year award is going to go to Christine Sinclair. Short-listed for FIFA's Women's Player of the Year honour, it is hard to argue that Sinclair is not Canada's best player. She is a star in the women's game, and stars pick up these awards all the time.
But my vote is going to go to someone else.
This is not a slight on Sinclair in any way. Along with her teammates, she has taken her game to another level under the leadership of coach Carolina Morace. As I said, she will win this award, again, and she will be fully deserving of the honour.
My vote is going to Diana Matheson.
Under the previous coaching regime, Matheson was little more than a spectator at times. The ball was routinely launched from back to front, over her head, and the only chance she had to shine was by winning the ball back herself.
Under Morace, Matheson has been encouraged to get the ball off the back four, link with Kaylyn Kyle and build the Canadian attack with the ball on the deck, where it belongs.
While all of the ladies have revealed their true abilities under Morace, I think Matheson exemplifies the attitude and work rate that brought this team the Women's Gold Cup trophy last month, and will be essential for this team's success in next summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.
While Canada has a difficult group, qualification for the knockout stage is not beyond them. If they are to get there, Diana Matheson will have a big role to play for Canada.
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