Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Atiba Hutchinson Rewarded for Stylish Play and Commitment to Canadian Cause

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Atiba Hutchinson Rewarded for Stylish Play and Commitment to Canadian Cause

Article excerpt

Hutchinson named male player of the year

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TORONTO - Atiba Hutchinson's devotion to the Canadian cause is demonstrated every time he is summoned by his country.

For the last home World Cup qualifier, the 32-year-old from Brampton, Ont., jumped on a four-hour flight from Istanbul to London, where he had a three-hour stopover before folding his lanky body onto another plane for a 9-1/2-hour flight to Vancouver.

"My sleeping pattern's all over the place," said the veteran midfielder, when asked about the toll the travel takes.

Hutchinson, who plays for Turkey's Besiktas, has learned to endure the jet lag. And he keeps answering the call.

Canadian soccer is grateful. The elegant Hutchinson is Canada's most influential and important player, a status reflected Friday in his fourth Canadian male player of the year award.

"We are very proud of Atiba Hutchinson," Canadian coach Benito Floro said in a statement. "He is the player that coaches and teammates want to have around."

Hutchinson, who also won in 2010, 2012 and 2014, joins Dwayne De Rosario as the only four-time winner of the award.

"It's a nice feeling," he said.

Orlando City striker Cyle Larin, the MLS rookie of the year, was second in voting by Canadian media and coaches. Goalkeeper Milan Borjan was third ahead of Canadian captain/midfielder Julian de Guzman and defender Adam Straith. In all, 15 players received votes.

"As a four-time winner of this award, he ranks amongst Canada's best athletes, " Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani said in a statement.

Hutchinson played in four World Cup qualifiers this year, helping Canada eliminate Belize before taking four points in the first two matches of the current qualifying round. He was named man of the match in the 1-0 win over Honduras on Nov. 13.

Hutchinson helped Besiktas qualify for the Europa League by finishing third in the 2014-15 Turkish league. …

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