July 14th, 2024

Forge FC’s Bekker up for Canadian Premier League player of the year for a fourth time

By The Canadian Press on October 20, 2023.

Pacific FC midfielder Jamar Dixon (left) battles for a ball with Forge FC midfielder Kyle Bekker (10) during Canadian Premier League championship game action at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont., Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. Pacific FC's Manny Aparicio, Forge FC's Kyle Bekker, Halifax Wanderers FC's Lorenzo Callegari and Cavalry FC's Daan Klomp and Ali Musse are the five nominees for the Canadian Premier League's player of the year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/NICK IWANYSHYN

Pacific FC’s Manny Aparicio, Forge FC’s Kyle Bekker, Halifax Wanderers FC’s Lorenzo Callegari and Cavalry FC’s Daan Klomp and Ali Musse are the five nominees for the Canadian Premier League’s player of the year.

Bekker has been nominated for the award in four of the CPL’s five seasons, winning in 2020.

The 33-year-old midfielder finished second in the league in assists with seven and added three goals. His 7.02 expected assists were the most among CPL players in 2023, and he finished the season tied for first in the league with 51 chances created.

Aparicio, 28, scored four goals and added five assists for Pacific, which went winless in the four matches (0-2-2) that Aparicio did not start, or appear in this season. He won possession in the final third 21 times, second most among all CPL players, and was fourth among outfield players in recoveries with 153.

Aparicio was also on the ballot in 2022.

A product of Paris Saint-Germain’s youth system, the 25-year-old Callegari helped Halifax set franchise records in wins, points, goals scored, goal differential, goals conceded and total passes, and finish third in the CPL standings. Callegari led the league with 1,949 passes and 2,344 touches, picking up six assists.

Klomp, 25, anchored Cavalry’s defence throughout the CPL regular season, becoming the only outfield player to appear in every minute for his club in 2023 and leading his team to its league-best defensive record.

Klomp finished second in the league in passes completed with 1,494 and 90 per cent passing accuracy. He ranked second in the league in blocks with 17, aerial duels won with 51 and possession won in the defensive third with 87.

He also scored four goals and added one assist.

Musse, 27, helped Cavalry finish atop the regular-season standings, scoring five goals and adding six assists while creating 46 chances – ranked fourth in the CPL. In defence, he finished among the top 10 in the league with 154 duels won.

The winner, to be decided in a vote of CPL club technical leadership and media, will be announced Oct. 27 in Hamilton, before the Oct. 28 CPL final.

Voting for all the CPL’s annual awards are based on performances during the regular season, not including Canadian Championship, CONCACAF or playoff action.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023

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