Photo by ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
CONCACAF will recognize the achievements of players, coaches and referees in the region for the first time, and several Americans are in the running for the numerous awards that will be handed out.
CONCACAF announced on Tuesday afternoon that it will begin to have annual accolades in 2013 and that the inaugural categories are Player of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Female Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Goal of the Year and Referee of the Year.
To earn consideration, a person must have played/coached/refereed in an official CONCACAF tournament at club or international level, a FIFA-sanctioned international competition or in a domestic league within CONCACAF’s territory.
A bevy of American standouts have been nominated for those awards. U.S. Men’s National Team stars Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are among the candidates for Player of the Year; Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Christie Rampone and Morgan Brian are the U.S. Women representatives up for the Female Player of the Year; and Mark Geiger and Jair Marrufo are among those being considered for the Referee of the Year honors.
In addition, Tim Howard is in the pool of players for Goalkeeper of the Year and both U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena are up for Coach of the Year.
Altidore and Brek Shea are candidates for Goal of the Year with their respective winning strikes against Honduras and Panama. Altidore had the lone tally in a 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 18 and Shea scored to push the U.S. past the Panamanians, 1-0, in the Gold Cup final at Soldier Field on July 28.
Fans hold a third of the final vote and can pick from the semifinal lists of 10 nominees for each category, which were determined through voting from all of the Technical Directors of CONCACAF’s 41 member associations and the region’s Technical Study Group. Fans can vote here.
Member associations’ national team coaches and captains represent another third of the final vote and media the other.
Like the idea of CONCACAF handing out annual awards? Which Americans do you see winning in their categories? Any player/coach/goal/referee you think should be included that wasn’t?
Share your thoughts below.