PLAYER OF THE MONTH | FC Edmonton's Matt VanOekel

Virginia native recorded shutouts in all four Eddies games in August
NASL Staff (@naslofficial} | Sep 9, 2016

Whether it was two games at home in the friendly confines of Clarke Field in Edmonton, or two far-flung games on the road, one at Puerto Rico FC and one at Tampa Bay, the outcomes were the same for FC Edmonton goalkeeper Matt VanOekel – no losses and no goals allowed.

For his play backstopping the Eddies’ league-leading defense, VanOekel was voted as the North American Soccer League (NASL) Player of the Month for August, the league announced Friday.

The native of Chesapeake, Va., who starred in college at Rutgers University in New Jersey, recently completed a dream month for the Eddies. VanOekel was in goal as FC Edmonton went undefeated in August (3W-1D-0L), notching three straight 1-0 victories and a single 0-0 draw.

“It is definitely an honor to receive this award considering all of the talent and the level of competition in the NASL,” VanOekel said. “August was a great month for FC Edmonton and I'm glad my performances helped secure those points. I’m excited to keep this run going strong until the end of the season. I’d like to give a shoutout to my teammates, coaching and training staff, the Fath Group, and the fans for providing me with all of the support.”

VanOekel, 29, and the Eddies began the month with a long road trip to face Puerto Rico FC on the Caribbean island, coming away with a 1-0 victory (the Eddies actually closed out July with an identical 1-0 win on the final day of the month). The 6-foot-4-inch VanOekel continued his mastery between the goalposts with two more 1-0 shutouts, first against visiting Minnesota United (a club he appeared for 70 times from 2010-14), then at Tampa Bay.

He leads all NASL goalkeepers with a 0.57 goals against average, allowing a paltry 12 goals in 21 games while making a league-high 75 saves. He also leads the NASL with 11 shutouts. VanOekel, in addition, has played every minute of every league game this year for the Eddies (7-3-1, 24 Fall; 12-5-4, 41 Combined), who enter Sunday’s game against visiting Miami FC in second place in both the Fall Season and Combined Standings.

“I think the biggest thing about Matt this season has been his consistency – he has trained really well every day,” said FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller. “He has come in with the correct attitude. He deserves this award, and we’re delighted with his form and hopefully he can carry us through to The Championship.”

The Eddies return to Clarke Field in Edmonton, as they try to extend their home unbeaten streak to 11 games in a clash with Miami FC on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and the game will be carried live on ESPN3 (U.S.) and (Canada).

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