The Canadian Soccer Association is once again handing out six different Player of the Year awards for 2014. The awards will be decided by voting from Canadian coaches who vote on all six awards and the media who will make up half the vote for the BMO Players of the Year.
The BMO Players of the Year are the top male and female player from their respective national teams. The U-20 awards are open to players born in 1995 or later on the men's side and 1994 or later on the women's side. The U-17 award nominees are born in 1998 or later for the men and 1997 or later for the women.
While the U-17 award races are very difficult to handicap for most of us who are less familiar with the names on the list that are not Jessie Fleming the other four races are worth taking a closer look at. We get started with the big award for the men.
BMO Male Canadian Player of Year nominees:
- Milan Borjan | BUL / Ludogorets Razgrad | Hamilton, ON
Borjan used 2014 to really cement himself as Canada's number 1 in goal moving forward. His efforts in goal were huge in helping Canada claim a win over Jamaica at BMO Field in one of the few standout individual performances from the past 12 months. He may still make some silly errors but he has shown he has the ability to keep Canada in games with his shot stopping ability. His club situation has been less stable in 2014 but it was highlighted by a strong performance (glaring error aside) at Anfield against Liverpool in the Champions League
- David Edgar | ENG / Birmingham City | Kitchener, ON
Edgar has developed in to one of the most consistent performers for the National Team. Under Floro he is getting the chance to play in his more natural position at CB and has put his size and strength to use in helping Canada become stronger while defending set pieces. He played 90 minutes four times this season with Canada giving up just 3 goals over that span. He even got his name on the scoresheet in that win over Jamaica which is only his second international goal. Edgar has also been a fixture for Birmingham this season but they have not been having the best campaign despite the Canadian being one of their better players.
- Julian de Guzman | unattached | Scarborough, ON
JDG is a finalist for this award despite the fact that he has been without a club since the end of the season last spring. He continues to be a veteran presence for the National Team making five appearances this season and is certainly a calming influence in the middle of the field but without a club to play for his future is certainly a bit up in the air.
- Doneil Henry | CAN / Toronto FC | Brampton, ON
Henry had some great moments in 2014 and some head scratching ones to go along with them. For both club and country he showed moments of the enormous potential that has had fans excited about him for years but those moments were often too far apart. He did go 90 minutes in his three appearances for Canada with the team only allowing 2 goals in those games which was promising as his partnership with Edgar seems to be working well.
- Atiba Hutchinson | TUR / Besiktas | Brampton, ON
If this award was about who is the most talented Canadian player it would not even be a close race. 2014 was another strong year for Hutch as he made four appearances for Canada and even found the back of the net in the 1-1 draw against Bulgaria. He continues to be one of the top midfielders in the CONCACAF region no matter what role he is asked to play. Hutch also enjoyed a strong year with his club that was highlighted by receiving praise from Arsene Wenger following his performance in a Champions League qualifier that saw him put in a Man of the Match performance despite Besiktas failing to overcome Arsenal.
- Issey Nakajima-Farran | CAN / Impact de Montréal | Calgary, AB
Having really made his way back into the national team in 2013 INF continued to play a growing role for Floro's team this season. He picked up three starts this season for Canada and was generally solid despite not really being an impact player on the wing. He also enjoyed a solid club season for Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact but often left fans wanting more as he often seemed to drift out of games for long spells.
- Tosaint Ricketts | ISR / Hapoel Haifa | Edmonton, AB
There were five starts and two goals in 2014 for Ricketts as he proved to be Canada's most consistent attacking threat this year. He still is not as clinical with his chances as fans would want but given the scoring woes of 2013 it was nice to see him find the back of the net on two occasions bringing his international tally up to 7. He wound up changing clubs yet again this year but hopefully he finds some stability at Hapoel Haifa and can finally get some consistency in his playing career.
- Adam Straith | unattached | Victoria, BC
Straith started four of Canada's five games this season and came on as a substitute in the other match. With Canada's strong defensive performances this season it is no surprise that he is the third consistent member of that back four to make this list. Along with Henry and Edgar he was part of making the defence stable in front of Borjan. He has been without a club in recent months but has drawn links to a number of clubs and will hopefully be able to find a place to play come January.
Having run down the eight nominees for the award there are certainly several potential candidates to take home the award. With Will Johnson not on the list we will have a new winner this year but the question is who will it be. The following is the ballot that I will be submitting to the CSA:
1st place - Milan Borjan
2nd place - David Edgar
3rd place - Atiba Hutchinson
Let us know in the comments who you think should take home the award this year.