Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan (left) defends against Costa Rica’s Lixy Rodriguez (12) during first half soccer action of a friendly match in Winnipeg. Buchanan has been named as Canada’s female soccer player of the year. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Kadeisha Buchanan caps remarkable year with top Canadian female player award

TORONTO — Defender Kadeisha Buchanan capped a remarkable campaign overseas Thursday with a domestic triumph, earning Canadian female soccer player of the year honours for the second time in three years.

The 22-year-old from Brampton, Ont., became the first Canadian international to hoist the Champions League trophy in June when Lyon defeated Paris Saint-Germain 7-6 in a penalty shootout in the final of European women’s club soccer showcase.

“An experience I’ll never forget,” said Buchanan.

Lyon, which had already captured the French league title and Cup, won the treble for the second year in a row.

Buchanan, who has already won a staggering 72 caps for Canada, has welcomed playing at the highest club level. Combining athleticism and a hard physical edge, the young Canadian has become one of the world’s elite centre backs.

“There’s many great players and every day they push me to be a better me,” Buchanan said in an interview. “And I think I push the team as well.

“So every day it’s like an international match because there are so many international players on the team. So definitely it’s challenging but it’s a challenge I want every day.”

On Wednesday, Beskitas midfielder Atiba Hutchinson was named male player of the year for a record sixth time.

Buchanan edged Christine Sinclair, who won last year for the 13th time, for the Canadian award. Buchanan also won in 2015, ending Sinclair’s 11-year stranglehold on the women’s honour. Sinclair also won in 2000.

Fellow Canadian internationals Ashley Lawrence, Janine Beckie and Jessie Fleming were also top vote-getters among Canadian coaches and media.

“It has been an amazing year for Kadeisha with the club treble as she has achieved in her first year in France what many players wait a lifetime to achieve,” Canadian national team coach John Herdman said in a statement.

“She also was a key player for Canada in two home matches against Costa Rica in which she played very well in June and then again in November as Canada beat Norway for the first time. It was just another great year for Kadeisha.”

Buchanan started the year on a high, joining Sinclair in January as the only Canadian woman to win MAC Hermann Trophy as the top NCAA soccer player.

Just days later, she signed with French powerhouse Lyon. Lawrence, her childhood friend, had just signed with rival Paris Saint-Germain.

The two would tangle all season as PSG and Lyon battled for domestic honours.

Buchanan made nine appearances for Canada in 2017, notching seven wins.

Buchanan and Lyon continue their success. The club is through to the quarterfinals for this season’s Champions League, set to play FC Barcelona when the competition resumes in March.

And it tops the French standings with an 11-0-0 record.

Earlier this week Fleming and Kris Twardek were named Canada’s U-20 players of the year, marking the third straight win for Fleming. Alphonso Davies and Jordyn Huitema won U-17 honours.

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