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MLS News: Hutchinson wins Canadian Male Player Of The Year, Toronto make moves, Neal’s Role At Orlando Expanded

Besiktas's midfielder Atiba Hutchinson during the match between Sporting CP and Besiktas JK for UEFA Europe League: Group Round on December 10, 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal. December 10, 2015| Credit: Carlos Rodrigues

Continuing with MLS Offseason News, Atibas Hutchinson was named the Canadian Soccer Association’s Male Player Of The Year. This is fourth Male Player Of The Year award, to go with his victories in 2014, 2012 and 2010. Kadeisha Buchana also won Canadian Female Player of the Year. Both are from Brampton, Ontario. From…

Hutchinson, who is sixth in all-time appearances for Canada with 73, had another standout season for club and country. He helped lead Besiktas to a third-place finish in the 2014-15 Turkish Super Lig (and the UEFA Europa League spot that comes with it), while also leading Canada to four points from its first two games in the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying.

“[Winning the award] does give me a push,” said Hutchinson. “To know that people are looking at me that way and appreciating my game, it goes a long way. I want to continue to do that.”

Meanwhile, Will Johnson is on his way back to Canada after signing with Toronto FC via trade. Johnson is hoping to win his third MLS Cup with a club yet to taste MLS Cup glory.

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“The first thing I always look for is that I want to play for a winner, I want to play for a contender, I want to play for a team that’s got good, solid pieces and a team that I think I can add the final piece, one of the pieces, or just a piece to a championship-winning team,” Johnson said. “And that is the No. 1 criteria I have when I’m looking for a new challenge.

“I hear a lot of great things about Toronto and the organization from the players, and a lot of great things about the fans,” added defender Steven Beitashour, who was traded to Toronto from the Vancouver Whitecaps. “Toronto’s doing a lot of good things right now, they deserve a winning team, and hopefully I can help bring that winning to the club.”

Finally, Lewis Neal will have an expanded role at Orlando City. He will be debuting for Orlando City B next season and will also be a coach with the Orlando City Academy as well as become a broadcaster with the club.

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“I am really looking forward to it and very excited about getting going now,” Neal explained. “We have had about three or four weeks off and I am getting itchy feet!

“Now I’ve had a chance to think about it, it’s definitely one of those special moments because I was here for the start of USL in 2011, then for MLS this year and now I will be there for the start of another new team, which makes for three phases of the club’s history. It’s something I will be very proud of.”

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