With NASL action soon to get underway in 2016, here's a look at potential Golden Glove award winners
Matthew Levine (@NASLInsider} | Mar 30, 2016

Photo credit: Steve Kingsman

With the season rapidly approaching, will be picking preseason candidates to win the individual postseason awards - Golden Boot, Golden Glove, Golden Ball, and Young Player of the Year.

For Ottawa Fury FC goalkeeper Romuald Peiser, it wasn’t just a Golden Glove-winning season in 2015. The French ‘keeper set a slew of league records including a 648-minute scoreless streak, six consecutive shutouts, 14 shutouts overall, and 15 victories. He also tied the best goals against average (GAA) in the NASL Modern Era, posting a 0.76 mark to be named the NASL’s top goalkeeper. Peiser will once again be in goal for Fury FC in hopes of replicating last year’s success. Ottawa’s shot-stopper is just one of several strong candidates to claim the award in 2016. Here are the preseason nominees:

Romuald Peiser, Ottawa Fury FC – Ottawa’s goalkeeper coach Bruce Grobbelaar set the goal of having the top goalkeeping corps in the NASL and that mission was accomplished, and then some, in 2015. Romuald Peiser, 36, had a tremendous, record-setting campaign. Playing in front of a consistent back four also played into the French ‘keepers success. With a remade defense in front of him, how quickly the side can jell will be key in Peiser’s continued stellar run. The veteran, though, should once again be towards the top of the list when talking about the league’s top shot-stoppers. 

Jimmy Maurer, New York Cosmos – The Cosmos goalkeeper has been a bit snake-bitten when it comes to earning the Golden Glove (although he bested the 2015 winner in The Championship Final). Maurer missed the mark by slim margins in his two seasons as the starter for New York. He posted a 0.93 GAA a year ago to go along with 12 shutouts. With the core of the Cosmos defense returning for its title-defending season, Maurer, 27, should have another strong year in goal.

Akira Fitzgerald, Carolina RailHawks – While Akira Fitzgerald let in nearly two goals a game (1.81 GAA), the Irish Ninja (as he is known by RailHawks supporters) made tremendous save after tremendous save in 2015. In fact, Fitzgerald led all ‘keepers in saves with 80. With a stronger back line in front of him this season, Fitzgerald, 28, could stake his claim for the Golden Glove. Also, having a young, hungry goalkeeper behind him with Brian Sylvestre should only benefit Fitzgerald in 2016.

Matt VanOekel, FC Edmonton – The Eddies had a penchant for conceding early goals in the 2015 Spring Season as Matt VanOekel moved to Edmonton from Minnesota United. The Fall Season, though, could be a sign of things to come for this year. VanOekel, 29, kept all six of his shutouts in the second half of 2015 and finished with a 1.47 GAA. FC Edmonton’s defense also has added more experience, which should help limit opponents’ chances in the coming campaign.

Sammy Ndjock, Minnesota United – Much of the focus will be on the Minnesota attack, but, as the old adage goes, defense wins championships. Cameroonian international goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock is set for his second year in goal for the Loons and settled nicely into the starting role in 2015. Ndjock, 26, kept seven shutouts and posted a 1.09 GAA a year ago. If the shot-stopper can build off of his campaign in 2015, he can thrust himself into a chance to claim the Golden Glove at season’s end.

Honorable Mentions

Bruno Cardoso, Fort Lauderdale Strikers – Joining the Strikers in the offseason, Bruno Cardoso brings with him a ton of experience. Suiting up for Palmeiras in Brazil for almost the entirety of his career, Cardoso, 31, now transitions to Florida. He has had an early start working with his back line with the Strikers’ participation in the Florida Cup and that time together could prove to be key in 2016.

Jon Busch, Indy Eleven – The Boys in Blue may just have the most experienced ‘keeper in net when the 2016 season kicks off. Jon Busch, 39, enters his 20th professional season. Busch is just one of the veteran signings the Eleven made in the offseason and his presence in the back could be crucial in the upcoming campaign for Indy.

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