Kris Twardek and Jessie Fleming have been named Canadian U-20 Players of the Year after outstanding campaigns highlighted by Canada Soccer’s 2017 National Teams international season. Canada’s two young footballers won the honour from a vote by National Teams coaches as well as Canadian clubs and coaches.
At the international level, Jessie Fleming was a key midfielder with Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team as she made 11 appearances and scored a goal and an assist. She also earned Player of the Match honours against USA in a 1:1 draw at BC Place in November. At the college level, she helped UCLA reach the NCAA College Cup final and she is a top-three finalist for M.A.C. Hermann Trophy honours (with the winner to be announced in January 2018).
“Jessie has been building her identiy this year as one of the leading international midfielders,” said John Herdman, Head Coach of Canada Soccer’s Women’s National Team. “She has been doing that on the field with a goal against Costa Rica and a standout performance against USA where she really did set the standard for any midfielder when playing against arguably the best team in the world.”
At the international level, Kris Twardek represented Canada at the CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship in February (one goal in two matches) and then made his international “A” debut against El Salvador in October. In England, he went on loan to Braintree Town where he made 12 appearances at the end of the 2016-17 season, then started the new season back at Millwall FC and made his League One debut in a 0:0 draw against Hull City on 21 November.
“Kris is a player that has evolved quite a lot in the past year and you can tell we have in our hands a great player for Canada,” said Octavio Zambrano, Head Coach for Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team. “He did not disappoint when he came into the Men’s National Team in October as everything we saw him do with his club he brought into our camp.”
Fleming finished first in voting ahead of runners up Deanne Rose (Alliston, ON / Scarborough GS United & University of Florida), Sarah Stratigakis (Woodbridge, ON / Aurora United FC and University of Michigan), and Gabrielle Carle (Lévis, QC / CS Lévis-Est and Florida State University). Twardek finished first in voting ahead of runners up Tristan Borges (Toronto, ON / sc Herenveen), Luca Uccello (Richmond Hill, ON / Toronto FC II), and James Pantemis (Montréal / Impact Montréal FC). This year’s Canadian U-20 Players of the Year award was open to male footballers born 1997 or later and female players born 1998 or later.
The 2017 Canada Soccer Player Awards are announced from 8-14 December, with the Canadian Para Soccer Player of the Year (Jamie Ackinclose) and Canadian Futsal Player of the Year (Nazim Belguendouz) announced on 8 December, the Canadian U-17 Players of the Year (Alphonso Davies and Jordyn Huitema) announced on 11 December, the Canadian U-20 Players of the Year (Kris Twardek and Jessie Fleming) announced on 12 December, and the Canadian Players of the Year to be announced on 13 and 14 December.
CANADIAN U-20 PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
Link to all winners on CanadaSoccer.com
2017 – Kris Twardek & Jessie Fleming
2016 – Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla & Jessie Fleming
2015 – Michael Petrasso & Jessie Fleming
2014 – Michael Petrasso & Kadeisha Buchanan
2013 – Dylan Carreiro & Kadeisha Buchanan
2012 – Doneil Henry & Sabrina D’Angelo
2011 – Ashtone Morgan & Amelia Pietrangelo
2010 – Ethan Gage & Jonelle Filigno
2009 – Nana Attakora & Chelsea Stewart
2008 – Nana Attakora & Jonelle Filigno
2007 – Asmir Begovic & Sophie Schmidt
2006 – David Edgar & Jodi-Ann Robinson
2005 – Ryan Gyaki & Kara Lang