It’s that time of year again, in a year where the men’s team reached unseen heights and the women continue to be amongst the very best in the world, it has been a great 2022 for Canadian soccer! Tonight, the winners of the Men’s and Women’s player of the year will be announced, with three nominees on each side. Ahead of the awards, let’s take a run through each nominee, and why they deserve the accolade.
Kadeisha Buchanan – Chelsea
Already a three-time winner of the award, Buchanan produced yet another vintage year for club and country. The Toronto-born Center-back not only won the French league with Lyon, but she also helped Les Fenottes win the UEFA Champions League thanks to a convincing 3-1 win to become a five-time European champion. Buchanan moved to London-based side Chelsea in the off-season and has helped the Blues reach the WSL summit while barely putting a foot wrong.
At international level, Buchanan made twelve appearances for her country, including all five of Canada’s games at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship where she and Canada conceded just one goal the whole tournament. Other standouts include beating Brazil 2-1 in São Paulo and recording eight clean sheers for the national team all calendar year. Buchanan is an imperious defender and would be a deserving four-time winner.
Jessie Fleming – Chelsea
Yet another Canadian playing for Chelsea, the midfielder has continued to go from strength to strength in 2022. Fleming started twenty-nine games for club and country, scoring ten goals and registering two assists and being an integral part to both Chelsea and Canada success. Chelsea won the league and cup double in 2022 with Fleming coming off the bench to play her part. It’s been more of the same in the 2022-23 season, with Chelsea unbeaten in games which Fleming has played in this season. They are three points clear of Arsenal at the top of the league, and in the Champions League they are top of a rough group which includes Real Madrid and PSG.
At international level, Fleming has establishing herself as one of the first names on the team sheet. For her country this year she made seventeen appearances with a career high five goals in a year for Canada. Fleming scored three times in the CONCACAF Women’s championship, earning herself a place in the Team of the Tournament. It’s been a great year for the London Ontario born midfielder, who is still only just twenty-four! She won the player of the year award last year, and she’ll fancy her chances to win it again.
Janine Beckie – Portland Thorns
Doubling as a Canadian star for Canada in the broadcast booth, the forward had a good year for both club and country, culminating with an NWSL championship! Beckie made twenty-one appearances for the Portland Thorns and Canada, with the season highlight being the NWSL championship game against Kansas City Current, marking the first time in her career that Beckie won a domestic league title.
For Canada, Beckie continued to be a creative spark for her country. Beckie got three goals for Canada in 2022, including a spectacular goal against eventual European champions England back in January. She also had three assists for Canada, further demonstrating that she is one of the best-attacking players in the Canada squad.
Up The North! HFX midfielder, Aidan Daniels – FC13 Podcast
Jonathan David – Lille
It’s hard to believe that David is only twenty-two, it feels like he’s been around forever and in 2022 – he continued to go strength to strength. David has scored fourteen league goals for Lille in 2022, with nine of them coming in the 2022/23 season – showing that he is getting better and better. 2022 also saw David make his Champions League last sixteen debut, and it seems inevitable that David will move to a (with all respect to Lille) bigger club in Europe.
As for Canada, David was arguably the star man in the second half of the qualification campaign. In the January window, David scored two spectacular goals against Honduras and El Salvador and set up Cyle Larin’s opener against the States. David would get a further two goals and assist for Canada, finishing as Canada’s top scorer for the calendar year of 2022, enough legitimately to make David a candidate for player of the year.
Alphonso Davies – Bayern Munich
Two-time reigning Player of the year Alphonso Davies got off to a tough start to 2022, he was sidelined for most of the first few months due to the after-effects of COVID, but he for sure soon made up for lost time. Davies won yet another league title with Bayern Munich and was named in the Bundesliga team of the year for 2021/22. This season he has continued to be an integral part of Bayern Munich, making nineteen appearances with a goal and four assists, including having yet to actually be on the pitch when Bayern concedes a goal in the Champions League. In five Champions League games played, the left-back has kept five clean sheets.
While Davies is a left-back for Bayern, it’s a different story for his county. Davies has played in seven games for Canada in 2022, scoring three goals and one assist, including Canada’s first-ever goal in a men’s World Cup, a moment that will live long in the memory of Canadian soccer fans.
Stephen Eustáquio – Porto
No Canadian man has had a bigger rise to football stardom than Eustáquio has this year. He went from playing for relatively unknown Paços de Ferreira to joining Porto and winning a league and cup double by the end of 2021/22. Eustáquio started the year as a bit part player for Porto and hasn’t looked back since breaking into the team in September, making eight starts out of a possible eight and racking up two goals, four assists and was named as the Portuguese player of the month in September. Eustáquio also excelled in the Champions League, starting every game and scoring two goals as Porto made it to the last sixteen
At international level, Eustáquio made ten appearances for Canada, playing a crucial role in central midfield. His abilities as a defensive midfield combined with his final ball has been crucial for Canada. Eustáquio put the world on notice with a great performance against Belgium, and perhaps the biggest compliment to him was that his absence in the second half against Croatia and the Morocco game was badly felt. Always consistent for Canada and now thriving at club level, Eustáquio has pushed himself this year to be considered one of John Herdman’s elite players that he can’t afford to ever leave out.
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