TORONTO — Jessie Fleming and Kris Twardek have been named Canadian under-20 soccer players of the year.
It’s the third straight year winning the award for Fleming, a 19-year-old from London, Ont.
Fleming has become an influential midfielder with the Canada women’s team, registering a goal and an assist in 11 appearances this year. She also helped UCLA reach the NCAA College Cup final and is one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy for the best female U.S. college player.
“Jessie has been building her identity this year as one of the leading international midfielders,” Canadian national coach John Herdman said in a statement. “She has been doing that on the field with a goal against Costa Rica and a standout performance against U.S.A. where she really did set the standard for any midfielder when playing against arguably the best team in the world.”
Twardek represented Canada at the CONCACAF Men’s Under-20 Championship in February (one goal in two matches) and then made his senior debut against El Salvador in October.
The 20-year-old from Ottawa finished the 2016-17 season in England on loan to Braintree Town where he made 12 appearances. He returned to Millwall this season and made his League One debut against Hull City on Nov. 21.
“Kris is a player that has evolved quite a lot in the past year and you can tell we have in our hands a great player for Canada,” said Canadian men’s coach Octavio Zambrano. “He did not disappoint when he came into the men’s national team in October as everything we saw him do with his club he brought into our camp.”
The winners were decided in a Canadian Soccer Association vote of national teams coaches as well as Canadian clubs and coaches.
Fleming finished ahead of Deanne Rose (University of Florida), Sarah Stratigakis (University of Michigan) and Gabrielle Carle (Florida State University).
Twardek finished ahead of Tristan Borges (SC Herenveen), Luca Uccello (Toronto FC II) and James Pantemis (Montreal Impact).
The U-20 player of the year awards were open to male footballers born 1997 or later and female players born 1998 or later.
CANADIAN U-20 PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2017 – Kris Twardek & Jessie Fleming
2016 – Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla & Jessie Fleming
2015 – Michael Petrasso & Jessie Fleming
2014 – Michael Petrasso & Kadeisha Buchanan
2013 – Dylan Carreiro & Kadeisha Buchanan
2012 – Doneil Henry & Sabrina D’Angelo
2011 – Ashtone Morgan & Amelia Pietrangelo
2010 – Ethan Gage & Jonelle Filigno
2009 – Nana Attakora & Chelsea Stewart
2008 – Nana Attakora & Jonelle Filigno
2007 – Asmir Begovic & Sophie Schmidt
2006 – David Edgar & Jodi-Ann Robinson
2005 – Ryan Gyaki & Kara Lang