VANCOUVER, BC – The 2020 Whitecaps FC BMO Player Awards Ceremony took place on Thursday through a special online event, with MLS first team players participating live at their hotel in Portland.
BMO Player of the Year: Ali Adnan
In his second year with Whitecaps FC, Ali Adnan has played in 22 of the ‘Caps 23 matches this season including the MLS is Back knockout round, starting 20 times.
The Iraqi international leads Whitecaps FC in duels won, tackles won, and interceptions. Offensively he leads the team in dribbles completed and has directly contributed to six goals this season, with his four assists tied for second on the team and second among defenders in MLS. His two goals are tied for fourth on the team.
Adnan was voted the 2020 Player of the Year by fans through an online poll on whitecapsfc.com.
BMO Goal of the Year: Ali Adnan
The left back takes home top goal honours with his superb free kick against San Jose Earthquakes on October 24 at Providence Park.
From a distance of 31.7 yards the expected goal percentage was only six per cent, but with a dipping strike that reached 99.5 kilometres/hour, Adnan was able to find the back of the net. Stats are credited to Second Spectrum.
Adnan won the 2020 Goal of the Year thanks to fan votes on whitecapsfc.com.
Most Promising Male Player: Ranko Veselinovic
The 21-year-old Serbian joined the club this season after captaining Vojvodina in his home country’s top tier. The 6-foot-2 defender leads the club with 76 clearances and is second in MLS with 21 blocks.
His 17 regular season appearances and 15 starts are also tops among ‘Caps centre backs, while he is one of only four centre backs in MLS aged 21 or under with 15 or more starts this season. On July 15 against San Jose Earthquakes, Veselinovic set an MLS single match record with seven blocks.
Most Promising Female Player / BMO RESP Academy Female Player: Mia Pante
A talented player from North Vancouver, BC who has represented Canada at the U-15 and U-17 national team levels, Mia Pante has been in the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System for the past four years. She is recognized by her coaches as an excellent ambassador for the Girls Elite REX program and her teammates.
Her attitude and continued growth both on the pitch and in the classroom have seen her recruited to play collegiate soccer at Texas A&M University next fall.
BMO also presented a $1,000 Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to Pante for her outstanding efforts on pitch and in the classroom.
The club’s Girls Elite REX staff chose Pante for both honours.
BMO RESP Academy Male Player: Eric White
Hailing from Coquitlam, BC, Eric White first entered the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System in 2016 and has grown into a leader in the MLS Academy program.
His hard work and character has shown both on the pitch, where he has represented the club in the academy league, Generation Adidas Cup, and playoffs, and in the classroom where has continued to excel.
BMO presented a $1,000 RESP to White for achieving excellence on and off the field. The club’s Academy staff chose White for the honour.
Humanitarian of the Year: Tosaint Ricketts
Tosaint Ricketts has been an exemplary team member on and off the pitch this season. Ricketts was the club’s player ambassador for the It Takes A Village fundraising artwork campaign, honouring frontline heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic and raising over $140K for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. As part of the initiative, Ricketts was also able to gift art pieces to British Columbia’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC Nurses Union president Christine Sorensen, and staff at BC Children’s Hospital.
Ricketts has also been a passionate advocate for social justice and anti-racism. He is active in the MLS Black Players for Change organization, and continues to support greater diversity and inclusion in our club and community. To commemorate Juneteenth this year, Ricketts and the team wore Unity jerseys with the word “freedom” in different languages, and the jerseys were auctioned to raise funds for Hogan’s Alley Society, a local non-profit whose mission is to preserve and promote the historical, cultural, societal and economic contributions made by Black residents in British Columbia.
The club’s community relations staff selected Ricketts as the 2020 Humanitarian of the Year.
BMO Academy Virtual Skills Challenge: Corwin Drew
In the midst of a highly unique and challenging 2020, the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System challenged players in every region across the country to submit a video showcasing their best skill or trick. Regional finalists were then selected and placed into a bracket, with voting open to all fans. The bracket featured videos from British Columbia, to Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.
At the end of the competition, Corwin Drew from Yarrow, British Columbia’s creative skills from his bed to the driveway emerged victorious as the inaugural BMO Academy Virtual Skills Challenge winner. Corwin has been a member of the Whitecaps FC BMO Fraser Valley and Mainland Academy Centres, while also playing for Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club.
Jock MacDonald Unsung Hero: Jake Nerwinski
During his fourth season with the club, Jake Nerwinski has again been a regular on the backline. His 17 starts are second on the team among defenders, while he has scored a career high two goals this year. The right back is also second on the team with 28 interceptions and 14 blocks, and third with 92 recoveries. On October 10, Nerwinski made his 100th appearance for Whitecaps FC.
The Unsung Hero Award was created in 2005, in memory of Jock MacDonald's dedication to the club. Jock was a founding member of the 86ers soccer club and a key to resurrecting professional soccer in Vancouver. His gracious personality and contributions were an important part of the club's success. The Jock MacDonald Unsung Hero Award is presented annually to a player that demonstrates these values.
The club's technical staff selected Nerwinski as the 2020 Jock MacDonald Unsung Hero.
BMO Academy Coaching Excellence Award
A new award in 2020, the BMO Academy Coaching Excellence Award was created to recognize the outstanding work and countless hours dedicated by coaches towards growing the game across Canada.
During this unprecedented year, club technical staff decided that rather than acknowledge only one individual, it was most fitting to honour all coaches in the Whitecaps FC BMO Academy System, with special recognition to every coach who contributed to the highly successful virtual training programs from coast to coast.
Long-time Whitecaps FC BMO Academy coach Bart Choufour accepted the award and spoke in representation of all coaches.
BMO is honouring all of our coaches that lead our youth and grow the game by extending financial support to groups that work tirelessly to positively impact our communities. In conjunction with this year's award, BMO donated a combined $5,000 to Whitecaps FC community partners Canada SCORES and Hogan’s Alley Society.
BMO celebrates the Class of 2020
Earlier this year, BMO stepped up to celebrate the Class of 2020 by awarding 10 deserving students with a Community Spirit Award and $1,000 Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). The recipients were selected throughout British Columbia based on exceptional support for their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic
Find the complete list of winners here.
Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot Award
In honour of the late Domenic Mobilio, the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, the Domenic Mobilio Golden Boot Award is given annually to the leading goalscorer on the first team.