Throughout this week the Canadian Soccer Association is unveiling the winners of 2011's Players of the Year awards. The one award that Toronto FC fans were the most looking forward to was the Under-20 Mens Player of the Year as the ballot was jam packed with young reds. It was announced earlier this morning that Toronto FC's left back Ashtone Morgan had been named the Mens Player of the Year in the under-20 category and Amélia Pietrangelo won for the women.
The win for Morgan means that he joins a list that includes the likes of David Edgar (2006), Nana Attakora (2008, 2009) and some traitorous keeper whose name I forget who won the award in 2007. What is clear that unlike the 2007 winner Morgan is set to be a Canadian international for a long time as the 20 year old earned his first call up and a pair of caps with the senior mens national team this fall.
Morgan was the only name on the ballot to make an appearance with the senior team so he was probably the obvious choice to end up winning the award. The even better news from a Toronto FC perspective is that Morgan was joined on the ballot by Matt Stinson, Doneil Henry and Oscar Cordon. The other Reds finished 3rd, 4th and 6th respectively in the voting. The other two places on the ballot were taken up by Russel Teibert (2nd) and Johnathan Lao (5th). The one thing about the result that did surprise me was the fact that Morgan only ended up claiming 33.3% of the total vote. As the only player on the ballot to be a regular starter in the MLS for even part of the season and the only one to earn a senior cap I expected him to be a bit more of a run away winner.
On the female side of things Amélia Pietrangelo is currently playing at Rutgers in the NCAA but will also be a key member of Canada's senior Womens team going forward. In the past year she earned her first cap and got included on the roster for the Pan Am Games where she scored her first goal against Costa Rica.
The other good news for the GTA area is that yesterday afternoon Kitchener native Bryce Alderson was named the under 17 male player of the year. He currently is in the Whitecaps residency and was a key member of the under-17 team that made the U-17 World Cup this past year.
For more on these awards and to follow along as more are announced be sure to check out the CSA website.