By RON FANFAIR
Brampton-born midfielder Atiba Hutchinson is Canada’s Male Soccer Player of the Year.
The 27-year-old captured 31.4 per cent of the votes from members of the national media and coaches.
‘This is a fantastic achievement for Atiba and well deserved,” said Canadian coach Stephen Hart. “He has worked hard for what he has achieved. He always answers the call to represent his country and he’s a terrific ambassador. I wish him well and urge him to continue enjoying his soccer.”
Born to Trinidad & Tobago parents, Hutchinson split time this season between F.C. Kobenhavn in Denmark and his current club, PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands. He rounded out a stellar year in Denmark by winning the Dansk Fodbold award as the top player in the Danish super league. He then moved on to Eindhoven with whom he has been featured regularly while keeping the club on top in the Eredivise standings through mid-December.
The CanadaSoccer.com Fan’s Choice winner in 2007, Hutchinson made his 50th appearance for Canada this year, scoring a goal in a 2-2 draw in the milestone appearance in Ukraine last October.
Three-time winner and Toronto FC captain Dwayne DeRosario was second in the voting with 24.6 per cent while last year’s winner Simeon Jackson received 13.1 per cent.
And, Christine Sinclair won the women’s award for the six straight year.
Canada’s most capped women soccer player – 141 caps – secured 46.1 per cent of the votes.
“Christine is a complete soccer player,” said Canadian national head coach Carolina Morace. “She is smart, fast, she has good vision of the game and she is able to read the match excellently. She puts her skill and talent into the team and this allows the team to grow. I’m very proud to coach her.”
Sinclair enjoyed a fantastic 2010 season, winning titles for both her club and country. She steered FC Gold Pride from worst to first in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league, scoring a pair of goals in the championship final in October. She then led Canada to a gold medal at the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) Women’s World Cup Qualifier, scoring the lone goal in the championship final against Mexico in Cancun.
In her second season with FC Gold Pride (the club folded last month), Sinclair netted 10 goals and led the league with nine assists. She formed a formidable duo with Brazilian Marta as FC Gold Pride scored a league record 46 goals. Sinclair also played in the WPS All-Star Game and helped her team improve from four wins, six draws and 10 losses in its inaugural season to 16 wins, five draws and three losses this year.