In recognition of their exceptional play over the last 12 months, Mexico’s Oribe Peralta and Alex Morgan of the United States were named the first-ever CONCACAF Male and Female Players of the Year today, as the Confederation revealed honorees in six different categories for the inaugural CONCACAF Awards.
The equally weighted vote between Member Association national team coaches/captains, media and fans, saw Santos Laguna’s Peralta outdistance U.S. internationals Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, who finished second and third, respectively.
“Congratulations to all our winners and nominees who have made particularly special contributions to a fantastic year of football in the region,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. “Their performances are an inspiration to the next generations of players, coaches and referees in CONCACAF.”
On the women’s side, Alex Morgan edged U.S. teammate Abby Wambach in what was the most closely contested vote on the ballot.
In the other categories, Tim Howard (Everton & United States) was named as Goalkeeper of the Year ahead of the l
Jurgen Klinsmann (United States) won Coach of the Year, Marco Antonio Rodriguez was named Referee of the Year while Raul Jimenez’s brilliant strike against Panama in October took the Goal of the Year award.
“These awards have generated a fantastic level of enthusiasm across the CONCACAF football community. We had almost 60,000 fans vote and witnessed an impressive level of participation from the media, as well as captains and coaches. Congratulations to Oribe, Alex and all the others on their fully deserved recognition of their outstanding performances this year,” added Webb.
The CONCACAF Awards are designed to honour the year’s outstanding performers and achievements in confederation-sanctioned competitions involving national teams at all levels and age categories, including FIFA World Cup qualifying for both genders.
Performances also eligible for recognition included those achieved in professional club football leagues within the CONCACAF Member Associations, as well as the CONCACAF Champions League.
Here’s a look at each of the categories:
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Oribe Peralta, Forward (Santos Laguna & Mexico)
Second: Landon Donovan, Forward (LA Galaxy & United States)
Third: Clint Dempsey, Midfielder (Seattle Sounders & United States)
Peralta followed up a memorable 2012, with an extraordinary 2013 campaign. During the year, he scored eight goals in seven World Cup Qualifying appearances, including five of Mexico’s nine goals in the two-legged CONCACAF/Oceania playoff against New Zealand that saw the Tricolor earn a berth at Brazil 2014. The 29-year-old netted 19 goals in 27 Liga MX appearances, while also playing in the CONCACAF Champions League final for a second straight time.
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Alex Morgan, Forward (Portland Thorns & United States)
Second: Abby Wambach, Forward (Western New York Flash & United States)
Third: Shirley Cruz, Midfielder (Paris Saint Germain/France & Costa Rica)
Morgan enjoyed an outstanding season for both club and country. She was on the roster of the Portland Thorns, which won the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League championship. Over the course of 18 regular-season games, Morgan scored eight goals to share the team lead with Canada international Christine Sinclair and added a team-high five assists. The 24-year-old forward also appeared in 12 of the United States’ 16 internationals, netting six goals and assisting on four others.
GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Tim Howard (Everton/England & United States)
Second: Raul Gudiño (Guadalajara & Mexico Under-17 National Team)
Third: Keylor Navas (Levante/Spain & Costa Rica)
Once again, Howard’s sensational play proved to be pivotal for the United States. In 2013, the 34-year-old appeared in seven World Cup qualifiers and was on the winning end five times. He conceded one goal in those five victories as the U.S. earned a berth in its seventh straight World Cup finals.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jurgen Klinsmann (United States)
Second: Miguel Herrera (Club America & Mexico)
Third: Luis Fernando Suarez (Honduras)
Klinsmann achieved a momentous double with the United States in 2013, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup title with a perfect 6-0-0 record and qualifying for Brazil 2014 with a first-place finish in the CONCACAF Hexagonal. Under the German’s skilled guidance, the U.S. also set single-year team records for wins (16) and consecutive victories (12).
REFEREE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Marco Antonio Rodriguez (Mexico)
Second: Roberto Garcia (Mexico)
Third: Courtney Campbell (Jamaica)
In 2013, Rodriguez was entrusted with the responsibility of officiating many of CONCACAF’s biggest matches. He was in the middle for the memorable 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League final, second-leg encounter between Monterrey and Santos. Additionally, the 40-year-old refereed a pair of matches in each of the following competitions: FIFA U-17 World Cup, World Cup Qualifying and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Winner: Raul Jimenez, Mexico v Panama, 85th minute (October 11, 2013)
Second: Juan Carlos Garcia, Honduras v United States, 40th minute (February 6, 2013)
Third: Jozy Altidore, USA v Honduras, 73rd minute (June 18, 2013)
Jimenez’s late strike against Panama in a World Cup qualifier on October 11 was as essential as it was spectacular. The Club America forward’s successfully executed bicycle kick from just inside the 18-yard box gave the Tricolor a much-needed 2-1 victory, boosting its 2014 World Cup qualification prospects.
The votes of three important stake-holding segments within the Confederation were counted in compiling the results. Member Associations’ national team coaches/captains, accredited media and fans each accounted for one third of the final vote.
A semifinal list of 10 nominees in each category was determined by a vote of Technical Directors from each of CONCACAF’s 41 Member Associations and the CONCACAF Technical Study Group, which analyzes tactics and rates performances at all official CONCACAF tournaments.
All winners will be honoured during individual ceremonies within the near future.
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