Striker Atiba Hutchinson is the Canadian Male Soccer Player of the Year.
After being hobbled by injuries last year, Hutchinson returned to form this year in seven appearances for Canada and 43 with his Dutch club PSV Eindhoven.
In the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) third round of the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, he helped Canada post an impressive 10 points. He had an assist in a 1-0 win over Panama at home, where Canada was undefeated for the second straight year.
Hutchinson’s Dutch club finished third in the league standings, narrowly missing out on a spot in the European Champions’ League after ending the campaign with five straight victories.
Justine Fedak, the BMO Financial Group senior vice-president of branding, advertising and sponsorship, said the company is proud to recognize players like Hutchinson whose impact on the Canadian soccer landscape has proven to be outstanding and inspirational.
“With his contributions to both the Canadian men’s national team and PSV Eindhoven, Atiba has demonstrated that he’s truly one of the best in the sport and we are honoured to present him with the award,” said Fedak.
Meanwhile, the official emblem for the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015 was unveiled across the country and around the world via a live event in Vancouver last week.
“Today’s emblem launch marks a milestone leading up to a monumental event for Canada when we host the 2015 World Cup,” said Minister of State Responsible for Sport, Bal Gosal. “As a huge soccer fan, I couldn’t be more proud of our government’s support for this prestigious event which will bring world class soccer to six cities across our great nation.”
FIFA president, Joseph Blatter, said a competition’s emblem is an important step on the road to the first game.
It symbolizes hope and conveys the values of a country,” said Blatter. “One could say that it represents the beat of the country’s heart with all its history and emotions. Organizing the FIFA women’s World Cup with 24 teams for the first time in 2015 will give a greater international dimension to this competition. I am also convinced that, with its diversity, the Canadian population will be a great support to all the teams and will add once again a special atmosphere to the tournament.”
Local organizing committee chief executive officer, Peter Montopoli, reminded Canadians the World Cup will showcase the best women soccer players from around the world.
“We are proud to unveil the Canada 2015 Official Emblem and official look that will help us welcome the world and its game to our great nation,” he said.
The World Cup will mark the first time that a single-sport competition will be hosted across Canada.
The host cities are Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.
The Greater Toronto Area was shut out because of the 2015 Pan American Games that will be taking place at the same time.