2016 USL Awards Finalists Revealed
New York’s Allen, Charlotte’s Martinez, Cincinnati’s Okoli Nominated for MVP
TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League announced today the finalists for the 2016 USL Awards. The award winners of will be announced during USL Awards Week between Monday, Oct. 31 and Friday, Nov. 4.
The 2016 USL Awards were voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market.
Three of the USL’s standout performers have been nominated for Most Valuable Player, with the New York Red Bulls II‘s Brandon Allen, the Charlotte Independence’s Enzo Martinez and FC Cincinnati‘s Sean Okoli earning support from the voting panel. Okoli claimed the USL Golden Boot with 16 goals, one ahead of Allen, while Martinez led the Independence to their first playoff appearance in club history.
Allen is also nominated for the USL Rookie of the Year Award, after his 15 goals set a USL rookie record in the 2016 regular season. Also nominated are Rochester Rhinos defender Joe Farrell and Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2‘s Alphonso Davies, who had a remarkable first professional season as he became the youngest player and goal-scorer in USL history at just 15 years old before signing a Homegrown Player contract with the Whitecaps’ MLS squad.
USL Regular Season champions the New York Red Bulls II also earned nominations in two other categories, with Coach John Wolyniec one of the candidates for USL Coach of the Year. He is joined as a finalist by FC Cincinnati’s John Harkes and the Swope Park Rangers’ Marc Dos Santos, both of whom led their expansion clubs to remarkable success in their inaugural seasons.
Red Bulls II center back Aaron Long is also nominated for Defender of the Year after a fine year at the back in his second USL season. The Swope Park Rangers’ Amer Didic and Richmond Kickers’ Hugh Roberts also earned nominations, with Roberts one of only two players to play every minute of the USL regular season.
The Rochester Rhinos’ Tomas Gomez will look to add to his USL Golden Glove Award after earning the lowest goals-against average in the USL this season, but will face competition from FC Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrandt and Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s Devala Gorrick for the USL Goalkeeper of the Year award.
Five nominees for 2016 USL Awards – New York’s Brandon Allen, Aaron Long and John Wolyniec and Swope Park’s Amer Didic and Marc Dos Santos – are set to participate in the 2016 USL Cup Final, Presented by Nike, which will air live on ESPNU, the WatchESPN app and be simulcast on SiriusXM on Sunday, October 23 at 8 p.m. ET.
2016 USL Award Finalists
2016 Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Monday, Oct. 31
Tomas Gomez, Rochester Rhinos
Devala Gorrick, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Mitch Hildebrandt, FC Cincinnati
2016 Defender of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Tuesday, Nov. 1
Amer Didic, Swope Park Rangers
Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls II
Hugh Roberts, Richmond Kickers
2016 Coach of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Wednesday, Nov. 2
Marc Dos Santos, Swope Park Rangers
John Harkes, FC Cincinnati
John Wolyniec, New York Red Bulls II
2016 Rookie of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Thursday, Nov. 3
Brandon Allen, New York Red Bulls II
Alphonso Davies, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
Joe Farrell, Rochester Rhinos
2016 Most Valuable Player Finalists – Winner announced Friday, Nov. 4
Brandon Allen, New York Red Bulls II
Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence
Sean Okoli, FC Cincinnati
FOLLOW THE USL
The 2016 USL Cup, Presented by Nike, will air live on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app, and will be simulcast on SiriusXM on Sunday, October 23 at 8 p.m. ET. Full online coverage of the 2016 USL Cup will also be available on the USL Cup Playoffs Center, with updates also available via Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram.
About United Soccer League
The United Soccer League, the longest-standing professional affiliate member of U.S. Soccer, is the largest professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, and the world, currently with 29 teams in 19 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces for the 2016 season. The USL has more than doubled in size since 2014 and built a stable, highly competitive professional soccer league on a national footprint with strong ownership groups in major markets positioned for long-term success. The 2016 season has marked the introduction of six teams – Bethlehem Steel FC, FC Cincinnati, Orlando City B, Rio Grande Valley FC, San Antonio FC and Swope Park Rangers. The league has confirmed the addition of Reno 1868 FC in 2017 and Nashville FC in 2018. The USL’s teams are divided into two conferences – Eastern and Western – with each team playing 30 regular season games. In addition to league play, USL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions. The USL is the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league below Major League Soccer (MLS).