The 2019 Canadian Premier League Awards Roundup
Today, the Canadian Premier League hosted its individual awards ceremony which saw five different Inuit soapstone carvings awarded to some of the league’s brightest stars.
The inaugural campaign saw plenty of Canadian history unfold, so it’s only fair that the league recognizes some of the figures who brought a high quality on the pitch to the domestic professional league.
The league brought forward three nominations for each of the following categories: Player Of The Year, Best U-21 Canadian Player, Coach Of The Year, and the Golden Glove award, while the Golden Boot award was already confirmed at the season’s end. The winners of the other categories were ultimately decided by a panel of media and reporters from across the country, adding one last touch of history-making to the league’s first year.
Without further ado, here’s the winners from The Canadian Premier League Awards ceremony:
Canadian Premier League Golden Boot Award – Tristan Borges
Forge FC midfielder Tristan Borges locked up this award when Forge FC hoisted the North Star Shield, finishing his inaugural campaign with an astounding 13 goals and 5 assists from 27 appearances.
The youngster’s prolific season would see him become the first player to score against every other CPL team, with Borges sealing the feat with an astounding olympico against the Halifax Wanderers.
His last goal of the campaign would be the go-ahead goal of the two-legged Canadian Premier League Finals, which went a long way in ultimately securing his team the championship.
Averaging a goal every 152 minutes as a midfielder is quite the achievement, which is exactly why Borges was also nominated for the Player of the Year and Best U-21 Canadian Player awards, too.
Golden Glove Award – Marco Carducci
23-year-old Cavalry FC goalkeeper Marco Carducci spent the 2019 Canadian Premier League season consistently proving his talent, with his consistent performances between the stick helping Cavalry FC claim both the spring and fall season titles.
Carducci would be recognized for his high-level performances with a call-up to the Canadian national team, becoming the first Canadian Premier League player to do so.
The Calgary local finished the season with nine clean sheets, tied for first with Forge FC’s Triston Henry. He made 65 saves across the span of the season, conceding just 15 goals across 25 regular season appearances.
His heroic penalty save in the first leg of the Canadian Premier League final was a testament to his never-say-die attitude, and it’s hard to argue that the six-foot-one shotstopper doesn’t deserve the Golden Glove award: he never really had a bad day at the office.
Best U-21 Canadian Player – Tristan Borges
Having only turned 21 this August, league star and Golden Boot winner Tristan Borges was also eligible to claim the Best U-21 Canadian Player award, and it only made sense that he did so.
Recording an astounding 13 goals and 5 assists in just 27 appearances, the tricky midfielder proved that his time overseas as SC Heerenveen was well-spent. The Forge FC youngster evidently has a bright future ahead of him, though it remains to be seen if any more of it will be spent in the Canadian Premier League – there’s plenty of rumoured interest in the youngster, which only makes sense after a season which saw him collect multiple awards.
Coach Of The Year – Tommy Wheeldon Jr.
Cavalry FC gaffer Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has built himself a Canadian Premier League squad that, quite simply, finds a way to win in situations that other clubs can’t seem to replicate.
The 40-year-old coach led the charge as Cavalry FC marched to a spring season title, and he didn’t let off the gas as his club went on to claim the fall season title, either. While the club may have lost out to Forge FC in the inaugural Canadian Premier League finals, it’s hard to find a coach that consistently brought out the best in his players like Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has in Cavalry FC.
Prior to the start of the season, Wheeldon Jr. utilized his close connection with the Calgary Foothills to bring in a core group of players, adding in the right pieces to go on a historic run in the CPL that leaves the club as favorites for the 2020 season, too. After finishing the inaugural campaign with 19 wins, 5 draws, and just 4 losses, that should come as no surprise.
The gaffer can also take credit as being the first coach to lead a Canadian Premier League side to victory over Major League Soccer opposition, a feat which he was the only one to do in Canadian Championship action this year.
Player Of The Year Award – Tristan Borges
Having already claimed the Golden Boot after contributing some thirteen goals and five assists throughout his title-winning inaugural Canadian Premier League campaign, it’s easy to see why 21-year-old midfielder Tristan Borges has laid claim to the Player Of The Year Award, too.
For his part, the 21-year-old admitted he hadn’t expected to net such a trophy haul when he first signed with Forge FC:
I had my individual goals for myself in terms of goals and assists, and things like that. Obviously, I know what I’m capable of doing, but there were a lot of great players that came into this league and were able to showcase what they were capable of doing. There were a lot players that I know going into the league, players like Terran, Bekker, and things like that, but obviously this is a great time to celebrate for myself and definitely celebrate with my teammates. It’s great to be a part of it.Tristan Borges
The former SC Heerenveen player has impressed fans and pundits alike with his dangerous runs, aptitude for goalscoring, and creativity on the ball. When one thinks about an exciting player to watch in the Canadian Premier League, chances are they think of Tristan Borges – and that’s exactly why he deserves the award after a banner year with Forge FC which now sees him land three different awards. All-told, that’s nearly sixty pounds of trophies – not bad.
What’s next for Borges is anyone’s guess: there’s rumoured MLS and Belgium-based interest in the youngster, which is what one wants to see in a self-described export league like the Canadian Premier League. Whether the inaugural Canadian Premier League Player Of The Year returns for 2020 is anyone’s guess, but it’ll be excited to see how he fares whatever he does.
The league also announced the winner of the Volkswagen Premier Performer award, which is based strictly off of statistical performances rather than a multi-judge panel.
The top players in the rankings were Tristan Borges and Marco Carducci, with Cavalry FC’s Marco Carducci winning the award and taking home an appropriately-red coloured 2019 Volkswagen Jetta GLI as a result.
The Canadian Premier League Awards celebrate what has been an exciting and historic year in Canadian football history, with the Inuit soapstone carvings adding a uniquely Canadian touch to a league which prides itself in celebrating its heritage from coast-to-coast.
It’ll be interesting to see if 2020 will see any returning players or coaches up for more potential awards, but for now one thing is certain: the Canadian Premier League put out an exciting product in 2019, and while we’re now in for a long offseason, the inaugural campaign has been successful in setting the stage for an even brighter 2020 – even if the next season doesn’t introduce any of the oft-discussed expansion clubs fans are hoping for.
It’ll also be interesting to see if more than two clubs will also see their players take home awards in the 2020 ceremony, with this year’s edition certainly being indicative of the success shared between Cavalry FC and Forge FC.