Sebastian Giovinco scored two hattricks during the 2015 Major League Soccer season, but is now on the verge of a third. Having already won the league Golden Boot, it was announced today that the atomic ant has won the newcomer of the year award. That puts him an MVP award, for which he is the favourite, away from scoring a hat trick of major MLS awards.
It comes after a debut season that was ultimately record setting, in which Giovinco scored 22 goals and added 16 assists to be tied for the league lead in both of those categories.
It is also an anomaly, newcomers are rarely instantly successful in Major League Soccer. Only once has a player won all three of these awards: in 2007 with DC United's Luciano Emilio in the initial year of the Newcomer of the year award.
But it wasn't Emilio that the 2007 season will be remembered for, it is David Beckham. Soccer was suddenly thrown into the spotlight in North America after the global star was attracted to Major League Soccer. With it came the designated player rule, which has helped to turn MLS grow to the place that it has today.
In many ways Giovinco is 2015's David Beckham. He doesn't have the same global name, nor has he been the global marketing phenomenon that Beckham brought.
Don't be mistaken, though, Giovinco is also an important marketing piece, just a more specific target market: foreign players.
In just one year, "Seba" went from being a Juventus bench-dweller to a superstar with Toronto FC. He earned international plaudits for his play, and got to keep his spot on the Italian national team. If all goes well going forward he could make a strong case for a starting spot at Euro 2016.
That's not it, recent reports have indicated that FC Barcelona are interested in his services. That's a big turnaround, and one that any number of young European players who have hit a wall in their professional career will see as a distinct opportunity.
At 28, Giovinco also represents the league's new shift toward's Designated players who are in their prime. Still considered a "retirement league" by many, Major League Soccer has gone a long way to ensure the players earning the biggest paycheques in the league are younger and more promising than ever.
This is a frontier that Major League Soccer seems to have been able to cross with domestic and South American players, but it has been difficult with those from Europe. Very few highly rated European players have joined Major League Soccer before the age of 30, which is why Giovinco stands out.
He appears to have broken a stigma around Major League Soccer from a European perspective, one that he will only continue to disperse if his career continues at its current trajectory.
When the designated player rule was introduced in 2007, most of the players brought in were passed their prime, with an average age of 32. Arguably Emilio was the only designated player in the prime of his career in 2007, and this was a trend that continued for several years.
Now designated players are younger, hungrier and if Giovinco's success is any indicator will only get better as the league continues to grow.
So while GIovinco may have won the league's Newcomer of the year award, he has already left a lasting impression on the league.