United Soccer League Unveils Finalists for 2017 USL Awards
The United Soccer League announced on Thursday the finalists for the 2017 USL Awards. The award winners will be announced during USL Awards Week between Monday, Nov. 20, and Wednesday, Nov. 22.
The USL is one of the most prominent Division II professional soccer leagues in the world, with 30 markets in 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces for the 2017 season. In total, the USL reaches a population of 75 million people, fueling the growth of professional soccer across North America.
Soccer News: The 2017 United Soccer League Awards were voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market.
2017 USL Award Finalists
2017 Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Monday, Nov. 20
Earl Edwards Jr., Orlando City B: Edwards’ save percentage of 75.2 was the highest of any goalkeeper in the USL with at least 75 saves in the regular season, and he saved two of five penalty kicks faced.
“…highest of any goalkeeper in the USL…”
Mitch Hildebrandt, FC Cincinnati: Hildebrandt led the USL with 100 saves in the regular season to help Cincinnati earn a second consecutive trip to the USL Cup Playoffs.
Diego Restrepo, San Antonio FC: Restrepo led the league with 12 shutouts in the regular season and posted a 0.80 goals-against average and 76.4 save percentage on 69 saves.
2017 Coach of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Monday, Nov. 20
Mark Briggs, Real Monarchs SLC: Briggs led the Monarchs to the most successful season in the club’s history, which culminated in Real winning the 2017 USL Regular Season Championship.
James O’Connor, Louisville City FC: O’Connor led Louisville to a first-place finish in the Eastern Conference, while setting club records for wins (18), points (62) and goals (58) in the regular season.
Ian Russell, Reno 1868 FC: Russell marshaled one of the finest expansion seasons in the USL’s history, with 1868 FC setting a single-season record with 75 goals on its way to a third-place finish in the Western Conference.
2017 Defender of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Tuesday, Nov. 21
Paco Craig, Louisville City FC: Craig led Louisville’s sterling defense with 63 interceptions, 96 clearances and an 82.9 percent tackle success rate, while also notching two goals, two assists and a 78.9 passing accuracy rate.
Harrison Delbridge, FC Cincinnati: Delbridge led the USL with 120 interceptions in the regular season and led defenders with 208 duels won, while recording three goals and three assists offensively.
Sebastien Ibeagha, San Antonio FC: Ibeagha led the USL with 190 clearances in the regular season, notched 55 interceptions and won 61.4 percent of duels to lead SAFC’s league-best defense.
2017 Rookie of the Year Finalists – Winner announced Tuesday, Nov. 21
Richard Ballard, Louisville City FC: A local standout, Ballard was a strong weapon off the bench for Louisville, as he recorded three goals, five assists and 24 successful dribbles for the Eastern Conference champion.
Santi Moar, Bethlehem Steel FC: Moar played a major role in Steel FC’s first trip to the USL Cup Playoffs, as he finished with six goals, six assists and 36 key passes to help drive Bethlehem’s attack.
Chris Wehan, Reno 1868 FC: Wehan led the USL with 12 assists and notched eight goals as Reno set a USL single-season record with 75 goals, and he also recorded 25 interceptions defensively for the side.
2017 Most Valuable Player Finalists – Winner announced Wednesday, Nov. 22
Chandler Hoffman, Real Monarchs SLC: Hoffman recorded single-season highs with 16 goals and seven assists to play a crucial role in the best season in Monarchs’ history, which saw the club claim the USL Regular Season Championship.
Dane Kelly, Reno 1868 FC: Kelly claimed the USL Golden Boot for the first time in his career with 18 goals, scoring at a rate of 111.2 minutes per goal, and added four assists and 24 key passes on the regular season.
Enzo Martinez, Charlotte Independence: Martinez earned his second consecutive nomination for USL Most Valuable Player after a standout season that saw him score a career-high 16 goals and notch five assists.
Photo Credit: USL