USL coaches and media voted FC Cincinnati’s Emmanuel Ledesma as the leagues Most Valuable Player, the league announced on Thursday.
Ledesma won 39% of the vote to receive the award, with Louisville City FC forward Cameron Lancaster finishing second with 33% and Orange County SC’s duo of Aodhan Quinn and Thomas Enevoldsen finishing tied for third with 8% each.
“I want to shout right now, I want to go crazy!” said Ledesma. “It’s something I’ve been looking for from the beginning of the season. I would not be in this position without my teammates, and this award is really about them, too. They were excellent all season and the reason we were so successful on the field. I’m so, so happy that this recognizes the hard work everyone did this year. I want to say thank you very much to every single person who works at the club and obviously the fans, too, who have made FC Cincinnati such a special place to play.”
— FC Cincinnati (@fccincinnati) September 26, 2018
The Argentinian shattered USL records in 2018, becoming the first ever player in USL to break 15 goals and assists. That was good enough to break the single-season assist record and he added another bringing the total to 16 in 2018. Also adding a goal, he ended his first FCC campaign with fifteen left-footed and one headed goal. Eight of those came from outside the box and ended up on highlight reels and winning USL goal of the week/month awards. Ledesma had a 20% conversion rate and scored his own goal every 174.7 minutes when he wasn’t assisting one. Due to his flurry of USL and team awards, FCC fans nicknamed the monthly competition the “Manu’s”.
Ledesma was signed by FC Cincinnati on January 4th, 2018 and Jeff Carlisle of ESPN reported that he re-upped with the club on 3 year MLS contract with two years guaranteed. Though financials have not been disclosed, it is rumored that he will earn below the TAM threshold in MLS that currently stands at $504,375. He joined Cincinnati after playing for the New York Cosmos and scoring ten goals in the prior season. Manu joins Alan Koch (Coach of the Year) and Forrest Lasso (Defender of the Year) sweeping every major award category that FC Cincinnati personal was nominated for.
Ledesma’s MVP award is the second MVP in club history. Sean Okoli won the USL MVP award in the clubs inaugural season in 2016.