From the Fan Awards to the 2020 CPL Awards last month, the year-end Canadian Premier League accolade season can be a bit confusing. There are many deserving winners, of course, in many credible categories. But we here at CanPL.ca thought it’d be worth highlighting a few more achievements that flew under the radar of normal and more legitimate awards. With some help from our editorial team and the folks behind Centre Circle Data, here are CanPL.ca’s Unofficial Awards of 2020 and The Island Games.
Best meme – OneSoccerAtlético Ottawa’s Gianfranco Facchineri going over top of Valour FC attacker Austin Ricci led the geniuses at OneSoccer to pay homage to one of the 1980s' best film moments.
Unfairly Targeted Award – Marco Bustos (fouled 35 times)Marco Bustos was fouled more than any other CPLer (35 times) in PEI by quite some margin (Akeem Garcia was fouled the second-most with 24). For context, Bustos was fouled 3.5 times per 90 minutes on average – or once every 25 minutes.
Best 'COVD Hair' – Dean NorthoverBarbers and hairdressers across Canada were unable to do their work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their work was much needed by CPLers, many of whom rocked up on the shores of PEI with some long, unkempt hairdos. Cavalry FC’s Dean Northover, though, takes the top COVID mop after clearly making his own, uh, alterations to the long hair. Did anyone see the racing stripes?
xGoals Saved – Callum Irving (2.37 Goals Saved)Adding Centre Circle Data’s expected goals conceded and subtracting goals conceded, we see how many goals ‘keepers saved their team in 2020. Pacific FC’s Callum Irving came up on top in this metric, saving his side over two goals by beating the math.
Most touching tribute – FC Edmonton (Chris Kooy)FC Edmonton honoured former captain Chris Kooy with a series of touching moments at The Island Games. Jeff Paulus’ draping of Kooy’s kit over the “managers chair” being one of the more touching moments.
A 'Cross' the Universe Award – David Choinière (42% – 19 Total Crosses)Crossing isn’t a dying art – just ask Forge FC. David Choinière went down as the CPL’s most efficient crosser, minimum 10 crosses, nailing nearly half of his lobs from out wide. The king of crosses.
Best penalty – Sergio Camargo, Cavalry FCA total of 19 penalties were taken at The Island Games… and only one Panenka. Cavalry FC’s Sergio Camargo chipped home a deceiving dink that was unstoppable for Valour ‘keeper James Pantemis. Say what you will about penalties like this – you can’t deny their effectiveness.
Most Valuable Staff Member – Marvin Okello, HFX WanderersHFX Wanderers FC’s ticketing manager and diversity inclusion officer Marvin Okello has been brilliant for the Nova Scotia club in 2020, leading several inclusivity conversations with fans, players, and members of the greater Halifax community. Coach Stephen Hart has been involved with Okello’s outreach, while centre-back Peter Schaale has credited him for helping Wanderers players understand “how to fight against” systemic racism. This Summer’s series of powerful Black Lives Matter protests and greater cultural shifts – culminating with CPLers staging a mass protest over police brutality and the shooting of Jacob Blake – has been a learning experience for many, thanks to people like Marvin.
Best Quote – Stephen Hart, HFX Wanderers FC"Football without fans is just sweating... To the fans, we thank you, we appreciate your patience, and we love you." Sincerity was needed in 2020. Stephen Hart met that and then some, nearly taking the Wanderers from worst-to-first, and providing a couple fun quips in the process.