Doneil Henry, Sabrina D'Angelo - Canadian U-20 Players of the year

Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

Scored the winning goal against the US in the under 23 Olympic qualifying tournament, and got plenty of first team time with TFC this year. that was enough for Doneil Henry to get the U-20 award, along with Sabrina D'Angelo.

The CSA's award season is well under way. Marco Carducci and Ashley Lawrence were named U-17 players of the year yesterday, and today the u-20 level was announced.

On the women's side of things, Sabrina D'Angelo won with 35.4% of the vote (50% national team coaches and 50% other Canadian coaches). Sadly I don't know all that much about D'Angelo, but here's the basics from the press release:

D'Angelo was goalkeeper of Canada's women's U-20 team, helping Canada qualify for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. In March, she helped Canada win a silver medal at the CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship in Panama. She earned Canada's Player of the Match honours in the 1:0 group finale victory over Mexico. In all, she posted six clean sheets in 2012, including a 6:0 win over Argentina at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Japan 2012.

D'Angelo of Welland, ON also earned two call-ups to Canada's national "A" team in 2012. At the college level with University of South Carolina, she started 14 matches and posted three clean sheets. She also earned Second Team All-SEC honours.

For the men, well it's Doneil Henry who comes away with the award (37.8), narrowly beating Samuel Piette (35.4) in what was essentially a 2 horse race.

They both played their part in Canada's Olympic qualifying efforts back in March, with Henry of course scoring the winning goal against the US, though Piette got a bit further this year withe the first team, making it into the squad for the World Cup qualifiers as well as making his debut in the friendly against the U.S. Henry didn't get selected for any of those squads, though he did make his full debut, playing in the friendly against Trinidad and Tobago back in August.

It's at the club level where Doneil was a lot more visible. Piette did sign up with German side Fortuna Dussledorf, but Henry got plenty of first team minutes right here with Toronto FC.

That obviously wasn't the plan as the season started, the fact he was released to the under 23 Olympic Qualifying team, while Ashtone Morgan wasn't shows how important he was supposed to be this season to the first team. But of course as we all know, Caicedo and Aceval and Emory and Harden all proved themselves not really up to the job and so Doneil got plenty of time in May, playing every minute of the 4 Voyageurs Cup games, where TFC were beaten only by Eric Hassli's goal of the year candidate. He eventually fell out of the team before popping up again at Right back for a while before injuries finished his season. For a fuller profile of his season, read his top31 countdown entry here.

Hopefully this won't get held up as some kind of magnificent example of TFC developing Canadian players and giving them the playing time they need, as it really was an emergency created by incompetence that saw him play so much, as opposed to some of the Whitecaps younger stars such as Russell Tiebert or Bryce Alderson who didn't need to be rushed to the first team. Going by the simple metric of minutes played then yes it looks like TFC are better at promoting Canadian talent, but let's not pat ourselves on the back too much given the reason why.

Anyway, congratulations to Doneil on his award, hopefully he can build on this and follow in the footsteps of previous TFC winners Nana Attakora and Ashtone Morgan and force his way into the first team on merit.

What the hell, let's watch that game against the US one more time.

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