Fort Lauderdale Strikers Forward Stefano Pinho Claims NASL Golden Ball

The Brazilian forward scored 16 goals and seven assists in 2015
NASL Staff | Nov 13, 2015

Fort Lauderdale Strikers forward Stefano Pinho has been awarded the 2015 NASL Golden Ball, which goes to the league’s most valuable player, the league announced Friday.

Pinho, 24, who received the most votes by media and fans, scored 16 goals and added seven assists.The Brazilian forward’s play helped the Strikers reach The Championship Semifinals, where they fell, 2-1, to the New York Cosmos on November 7.

“I’m honored to receive this award,” Pinho said. “I would like to thank God. This has been the best season of my career, but it’s not all about me. The success that I’ve had in Fort Lauderdale is because of the hard work of my teammates, coaches, and everyone at the Strikers.”

The Minas Gerais, Brazil, native earned NASL Team of the Week honors seven times, NASL Player of the Week honors four times, and NASL Player of the Month honors twice. The only player to record a hat trick in 2015, the young forward completed the feat twice – in a 7-1 win over Indy Eleven on August 30 and a 4-2 victory over the San Antonio Scorpions on October 4 – in the Fall Season.

“It’s been a great season, and I thank everyone who made it so fun and rewarding,” Pinho said.

In his first season in the NASL, the Brazilian took the league by storm, showing strength, composure, and nose for the goal. Pinho featured in 28 of 30 matches in 2015, starting 26 and logging 2,335 minutes.

Before heading to the U.S. with the Strikers, Pinho featured with MyPa of Finland on loan where he tallied 11 times. He joined Fort Lauderdale on a season-long loan ahead of the 2015 Spring Season from Fluminense.

Pinho becomes the fifth Golden Ball winner in the Modern Era, joining Etienne Barbara (Carolina RailHawks – 2011), Pablo Campos (San Antonio Scorpions – 2012), Georgi Hristov (Tampa Bay Rowdies – 2013), and Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United – 2014).

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