Christine Sinclair wins 11th straight player of year award
Hutchinson takes Canadian men's honour
Canadian captain Christine Sinclair continues to evolve as a soccer player — and win awards.
The 31-year-old star forward has been named Canadian Women's Player of the Year for the 11th consecutive year. Midfielder Atiba Hutchinson was chosen top men's player for the third time.
Sinclair, from Burnaby, B.C., played every minute of Canada's 11 international women's matches in 2014. She scored one goal for Canada and seven for the Portland Thorns FC of the NWSL.
"I think I've developed into a more complete soccer player as a result of (John Herdman) being head coach," Sinclair said in a conference call Thursday. "He's discovered more players that are able to put the ball in the back of the net.
"I think I do more on the soccer field than what I did say five six years ago when I only scored goals."
More complete player
That includes dropping back into midfield, creating chances and leading in other ways.
"I think my biggest step this year has been a leader on the field, organizing and just being that vocal player on the field for our team," she said.
Sinclair won a very close vote over Houston Dash goalkeeper Erin McLeod and Sky Blue FC midfielder Sophie Schmidt.
"There are some incredible soccer players for the women's side and some players who had incredible years as well," Sinclair said. "It's a huge honour but I've never really focused on the individual stuff.
"The focus right now is completely on next summer (and the World Cup)."
It's actually the 12th time that Sinclair has won the award. She first won it in 2000 and has had a stranglehold on it since 2004.
The 31-year-old Hutchinson, from Brampton, Ont., has played in every league game this season for Besiktas, one of the top clubs in Turkey. He also appeared in four of five games for the men's national team, scoring from the penalty spot in the 1-1 draw with Bulgaria in May.
Hutchinson came in first ahead of Ludogorets Razgrad goalkeeper Milan Borjan and Birmingham City defender David Edgar.
"Atiba has been the unheralded leader of our men's national team and one of the top players in the CONCACAF region for years, while Christine has been a remarkably influential figure for women's football and our sport in general throughout the years," Canada Soccer president Victor Montagliani said in a statement.
The awards are sponsored by BMO.