Photo credit: Indy Eleven/Matt Schlotzhauer
Top individual performances each year in the NASL are awarded with awards, including Golden Boot (top scorer), Golden Glove (best goals against average), and Golden Ball (league MVP). A player that has donated his time off the field as well is also honored with the Humanitarian of the Year award..Here's a recap of the 2016 NASL awards:
Minnesota United forward Christian Ramirez earned his second Golden Boot award. He scored the first hat trick of his professional career as well as his 50th NASL goal in 2016. He led the league in scoring with 18 goals.
FC Edmonton goalkeeper Matt VanOekel set several records, including goals against average. His 0.55 GAA earned him the league's Golden Glove award. VanOekel also kept a record 16 shutouts as the Eddies made a return to the postseason for the first time since 2011.
New York Cosmos midfielder Juan Arango was instrumental as the club returned to The Championship, ultimately claiming the Soccer Bowl trophy. The Venezuelan international scored 15 goals, while adding seven assists during the campaign.
Young Player of the Year
FC Edmonton had an incredible defensive record helped by the play of center back Papé Diakité. The 23-year-old finished third in interceptions (86) and clearances (134).
Goal of the Year
Indy Eleven forward Duke Lacroix was in the running for Young Player of the Year, but did take home the league's Goal of the Year honor, which is voted on by the fans. Lacroix provided a stunning effort using strength and speed for a top-notch goal, which can be seen below.
Coach of the Year
Indy picked up its first piece of silverware in club history with the Spring Season title and reached The Championship Final. Veteran coach Tim Hankinson, in his first year with the club, was the architect of the fantastic run. Indy finished the Spring Season with an unbeaten record.
While not an individual award, the Carolina RailHawks had the best disciplinary record. In 32 league games, the club had 45 yellow cards (one straight red card, three overall) and committed only 339 fouls.
Humanitarian of the Year
Miami FC midfielder Michael Lahoud has impacted the lives in his native Sierra Leone with his work with Schools for Salone. He also contributed his time to several community events, including USPORT at the University of Miami Business School. He also made an impact during his stay with the Cosmos during the Spring Season spending time at the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf on Long Island, N.Y., Beyond Sport ESPN Leadership Dinner in New York City, and was the guest of honor at the Young Life Annual Foundation dinner in New York City..