Ashley Lawrence was named Canadian Player of the Year, in a Dec. 12 2019 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Fullback Ashley Lawrence named Canadian Player of the Year after busy 2019

TORONTO — Ashley Lawrence, who played in all 15 internationals in 2019 and led the Canadian women in minutes played, has been named Canadian Player of the Year.

She joins KAA Gent forward Jonathan David, who was named top men’s player on Wednesday in voting by Canadian media and coaches.

Lawrence, a 24-year-old from Caledon East, Ont., plays her club football in France for Paris Saint-Germain. Primarily a fullback with Canada, she also plays midfield for PSG.

One of the first names on the Canadian team sheet, Lawrence is mobile and technically gifted. She can take on opposing players, opening up space for teammates, and has the ability to deliver the ball to them.

“Ashley Lawrence is a fantastic, positive individual with great character and someone who looks at ways to improve her game all the time,” Canadian women’s coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said in a statement Thursday. “She is a world-class player with a fast-paced drive on the ball. She has the ability to pass, cross and shoot with both feet. She is able to play at several positions on the highest level.

“In 2019, her leadership abilities continued to develop both on and off the pitch, providing a positive impact on both her younger teammates as well as her own game.”

Lawrence finished ahead of runner-up Janine Beckie, a forward with Manchester City. Defender Kadeisha Buchanan (Lyon), forward Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns) and goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe (N.C. Courage) completed the top five.

In 2019, Lawrence led Canada with four assists at the senior level and was named Canada Soccer Player of the Month in both June and November. She was one of four footballers to play in all 15 matches and was Canada’s player of the match in the round-of-16 loss to Sweden at the Women’s World Cup in France.

Lawrence helped PSG finish runner-up in the French league in 2018-19. The club has also qualified for the 2019-20 UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinals.

Lawrence was 14 when she made her debut in the Canadian youth program in 2010 and she won Canadian U-17 Player of the Year honours in 2011 and 2012. She has won 83 caps for Canada.

In awards announced earlier, Jayden Nelson and Olivia Smith were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year. Luis Rocha was chosen Canadian Futsal Player of the Year, and Samuel Charron won Canadian Para Soccer Player of the Year honours.

Labbe won the Allstate Canadian National Teams Good Hands Award.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2019.

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