FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE JUST JOINED US: CONCACAF doesn't actually give out this award. Nor do Mexican, Central American, Caribbean, Canadian, or Yankee Imperialist Running Dog journalists. Nor, obviously, do players, coaches, administrators, or federations. This is something I do. Because (1) it's funny if it's just me, and (2) it shows how much CONCACAF sucks that they can't even organize or sanction cheap publicity like this.
Now, of course, we all know that CONCACAF has way, way bigger problems than not being able to gin up some publicity for a year-end award. Or maybe there's simply no demand for this, since I've been doing this for eight years now and no one's taken it away from me. It's as if the old Al Franken Decade joke from Saturday Night Live actually came true.
Maybe if I handed out actual trophies. Or even bothered to e-mail the winners. But this whole thing has a long-term lease on the penthouse of "Jokes That Are Only For My Benefit," and I really don't think I could withstand the withering stare of, say, Brad Friedel, were I foolish enough to try to explain it to him.
But I want to make it plausible. I don't want it to be funny because I picked the wrong guy.
Oh, it's George Weah rules, which means North American playing anywhere, or anyone playing in North America. So theoretically, David Beckham would be eligible for this award.
Let's start with the women. Usually, the best player on the US women's team has the inside track to this, but this year the US women's team was a god-damned joke.
That pretty much narrowed it down to Marta and Christine Sinclair. At first, I didn't even consider anyone but Marta. Marta had 19 goals and 5 assists in WPS, Sinclair had 10 goals and 9 assists. Marta was the runaway league MVP. Sinclair had two goals in the final against Philadelphia, Marta had one goal (in garbage time) but assisted twice, and was the game's MVP.
However, Christine Sinclair had a terrific CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament, so that more than...you know what, no, I'm going to be honest. Marta won the FIFA Player of the Year award last year, unjustly. So I'm going to be a complete tool and take away her CONCACAF award. Congratulations, Christine Sinclair, two-time, two-time CONCACAF Player of the Year!
The real winners, of course, are FC Gold Pride and their fans.
For the men - it was neck and freaking neck. Landon Donovan had a fantastic spell at Everton, and was their Player of the Month for January. Javier Hernandez has been wonderful for Manchester United, and was their Player of the Month for October. Hernandez was terrific for Chivas in the Bicentenario, even though they disappointed in the playoffs. Donovan was fabulous for the Galaxy, but disappointed at the end of the season. Hernandez had a great World Cup.
Donovan's was simply astonishing, though. The Algeria goal was an iconic moment in American soccer history, and had an impact that Hernandez's performance just didn't match. For my money, though, his goal against Slovenia was even more amazing. He turned Samir Handanovic into Josh Wicks.
But then, over the weekend, Chicharito came through with a game-winner for Manchester United. It's already his eighth goal of the year, and it helped United stay in first place. That sort of statement performance is enough to make the decision. Your 2010 CONCACAF Male Player of the Year is....
Yesterday was January 1, 2011?
So it shouldn't count in a 2010 award?
Good heavens, you're right! Congratulations, Landon Donovan - 2010 CONCACAF PLAYER OF THE YEAR! THANK YOU! GOOD NIGHT! HAPPY NEW YEAR!