Simeon Jackson named Canadian male soccer player of the year
Jackson scored Gillingham FC's winning goal - a header in the 91st minute - in a 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury on May 23, a pivotal game in front of 53,7006 fans at Wembley Stadium that helped his team earn a promotion to League One in England.
A week later, he made a distinguished debut with the Canadian team, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Cyprus.
"Those two games were the two big highlights for me," Jackson said on a conference call Friday. "It's an honour to win this award and I didn't even think I was going to be one of the players who was going to get nominated, but it's good to be recognized on that level."
The 22-year-old Jackson captured the award for the first time, edging Toronto FC midfielders Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman. Veteran striker Christine Sinclair of Burnaby, B.C., was named Canada's top female player for the fifth consecutive time Thursday.
Jackson scored nine goals in 25 League Two appearances in the second half of the 2008-09 season, including three goals in the final two playoff games.
He also played for Canada at the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the summer, helping the Canadians reach the quarter-finals.
Jackson was called up again in November for a pair of friendlies in Europe, earning him seven national appearances by year's end.
"This is a fantastic achievement for Simeon," Canadian men's coach Stephen Hart said in a statement. "He had an excellent club season and performed admirably at the national level. Full congratulations to Simeon." Jackson had kind words for Hart, who was named head coach of the men's team earlier this month. Hart had been the interim coach to that point. "From what I've gathered just from being there for a short time, he's shown a lot of confidence in the players, and a lot of belief going into games to get results," Jackson said. "There was a bit of uncertainty about whether he was going to get the job or not, but now that's been finalized, to feel that stability and know where we're going, it's a very exciting time."
Jackson was on the pitch during Canada's 3-0 loss to Macedonia, a result that's under review. UEFA has suspended Bulgarian referee Anton Genov while it investigates him for allegedly helping fix the friendly in a betting coup.
"From hearing that now, it all makes sense, to be honest," Jackson said. "We went there, we didn't have the best of games, but games do change on decisions, and the first decision of the game, the penalty was given and from that, it made things difficult. Throughout the game there was some questionable decision-making, but when you're playing away, you kind of expect that sometimes. We're taught not to question a referee's decision. . . " Genov awarded four penalties, two to each side, in the game in Skopje.
Chelsea Stewart and Nana Attakora were named the Canadian under-20 female and male players of the year earlier in the week, while Abigail Raymer and Russell Teibert won the under-17 awards.
GILLINGHAM FC HOPES YOU HAVE A MERRY SNOWY CHRISTMAS.
and the most important goal in Jackson's career to date: