Today brings us to the final part of our three part 2016 CST FC Cincinnati Yearly Awards. Our staff and guest panel will pick the 2016 Staff/Panel Player of the Year. Don’t forget to check out the 2016 Goal of the Year, the 2016 Fans Player of the Year & 2016 Moment of the Year articles as well.
Contributing on our 2016 Cincinnati Soccer Talk Yearly Awards along with our staff are Pat Brennan (Cincinnati Enquirer), Chad Hollingsworth (ScratchingThePitch.com), David Keim (SixthDaySoccer.com), Jeremy Lance (Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast), Laurel Pfahler (WCPO.com contributor) and Tana Weingartner (91.7 WVXU).
We asked our staff and guests to answer three questions for our inaugural season awards. Who is their FC Cincinnati Player of the Year? What was their favorite goal (preseason included)? What was their favorite moment of the season?
These three awards will go along with our 2016 Cincinnati Soccer Talk Fan Vote Player of the Year Award that was given to FCC center back Harrison Delbridge. Make sure to listen to this week’s PODCAST where we discuss the award and the upcoming playoffs with the Australian defender.
Nominees (in order by last name) –
Nominees were listed after collecting submissions of votes from staff/panel.
Pat Brennan (Cincinnati Enquirer) – Sean Okoli is, by every measure, a leading USL MVP candidate, so of course he has to be FC Cincinnati’s Player of the Year. He’s the reason FC Cincinnati is where they are today in terms of hosting a playoff game as the No. 3 seed. Okoli’s game-winners alone (7) would tie for second on the team in goals scored during the regular season.
Chad Hollingsworth (ScratchingThePitch.com) – Okoli won the USL Golden Boot. Mitch said no over and over. For me, though, the club’s player of the year was Harrison Delbridge. Delbo was a solid rock at center back all season. Time after time he made goal saving and game saving tackles.
David Keim (SixthDaySoccer.com) – It’s hard to look past the Golden Boot winner (Sean Okoli) who also led the team in fouls. A goalscorer who is committed is great to have.
Jeremy Lance (Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast) – Sean Okoli. Hard not to pick the golden boot winner with 16 goals and 3 assists on the season.
Laurel Pfahler (WCPO.com contributor) – I was torn between Bone, Okoli and Delbridge, but while Okoli was the clear leader on offense and Delbridge an important piece of the defense, I felt Corben Bone played a central role in both aspects. He finished with five assists (team high) and played a big part in creating a lot of the chances FC Cincinnati just struggled to finish.
Nick Seuberling – Harrison Delbridge won the fans vote for CST Player of the Year. However, it’s hard to argue with Sean Okoli‘s league leading 16 goals. His Golden Boot performance this season was a main reason why FC Cincinnati finished 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Imagine where this team would be without Ugo’s hold up play and goals this season. Glad he’s in Orange and Blue.
Yosief Tzeghai – My player of the year is Harrison Delbridge. The Aussie anchored the back four when captain, Austin Berry, went down early in the season. The team has only given up 3 goals in a result twice this season.
Michael Walker – My player of the year is Sean “Ugo” Okoli. Scoring goals is the hardest thing to do in soccer and he did that more than anyone else in the USL. He also led the league in points, shots and shots on target. Bravo.
Brad Weigel – #9 has the Golden Touch. It is hard to not pick Sean “Ugo” Okoli as my Player of the Year. With 16 goals, coupled with 3 assists, Okoli provided consistent scoring all season long. While others had hot streaks, Okoli averaged a goal more than every other game. A key fact for me was that Okoli managed to go without a goal or an assist for no longer than 2 games only once this season. You need your #1 attacking threat to be constantly impacting play and Okoli absolutely did that.
Bryan Weigel – Mitch Says No! I say Yes for MVP. The goalkeeper position was largely considered a question mark by some going into the season. But Mitch Hildebrandt quickly set fans at ease by putting in quality performances time and time again. Sure his stats could have been a bit better (routinely ranked in the to 10 in GK categories), but that is a product of his organization of the defense in front of him. He faced a lower amount of shots than most keepers with over 20 games, but still kept his GAA under 1 game. Great season for Mitch.
Tana Weingartner (91.7 WVXU) – Hard to pick… I really like how hard Kenney Walker works all game long. But I think my vote goes to Harrison Delbridge for being solid all season long at defense.
Bill Wolf – I’ve felt like one of the strengths of the team is that they work together and believe in each other. It’s the team unity which has taken them so far this season. When one stumbles, there is another to cover. Being forced to pick, I thought I’d pick someone who maybe wouldn’t be as obvious. There are some obvious fan favorites and they’re all worthy, but for me, I picked Paul Nicholson. Paul became a starter when Berry got injured. He stepped up into the center role and was a rock in the back. He’s scored a critical goal when needed and has floated between center back and holding mid effective in each position. His vision of the field is great and he connects well with others. The team always felt a little more organized with him on the pitch.
Sean “Ugo” Okoli – 2016 Staff/Panel Player of the Year
We hope you enjoyed these articles. Make sure to continue to check out Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we break down the upcoming playoff match vs. the Charleston Battery this Sunday.
Regular Season Recap Stories
2016 Fan Voted Player of the Year – Harrison Delbridge
2016 Goal of the Year – Corben Bone at IMG Suncoast Classic
2016 Moment of the Year – Crystal Palace Friendly
2016 Staff/Panel Player of the Year – Sean “Ugo” Okoli
Favorite Photos of 2016 – Photos taken by CST & local SG’s
Pat Brennan – Pat is the beat writer covering FC Cincinnati for the Enquirer and is a co host of the Enquirer’s FC Cincy Beat – @PBrennanENQ
Chad Hollingsworth – Chad can be found covering FCC & the USL on his website ScratchingthePitch.com and as co host of theUSLShow Podcast – @ChadHoll
David Keim – David covers a variety of leagues including EPL, MLS, the USL and more on his website SixthDaySoccer.com – @6thSoccer
Jeremy Lance – Jeremy appears on air covering regional soccer events on ESPN3.com, is the PR Director of the Dayton Dynamo and is a co host of the Wrong Side of the Pond Podcast which just began it’s 4th season. – @JeremyLance
Laurel Pfahler – Laurel covers FC Cincinnati for WCPO.com and covers other pro & college sports for various national media outlets. – @LaurelPfahler
Tana Weingartner – Tana is a reporter & Digital News Editor for WVXU/WMUB/NPR covering Greater Cincinnati news and FC Cincinnati. – @TanaWeingartner