USL News Release
Thursday, September 25, 2008
TAMPA, FL — United Soccer Leagues announced Thursday the statistical award winners for the 2008 USL First Division season, honoring Miami’s Alex Afonso, Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Steele and Montreal’s Matt Jordan.
Brazilian striker Alex Afonso in his first season with the Miami FC Blues captured the Scoring Championship for leading the league in points (34) as well as the Goal Scoring Championship with 15 on the campaign.
Afonso’s 15 goals accounted for over half of Miami’s total of 28 on the season. He is the second from Miami to earn the honor with famed Brazilian World Cup champion Romario sharing the honor two years ago with Seattle rookie Cam Weaver. Afonso was the fourth player in the last six years to win the Scoring Championship playing for a club that failed to qualify for the playoffs, joining Weaver, Dante Washington (Virginia Beach 2004) and Thiago Martins (Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2003) as the only players to have earned the honor despite not reaching the postseason since 1991.
Afonso finished two points and one goal ahead of last year’s honoree, Sebastien Le Toux from the Seattle Sounders, in both categories.
Playing for the Puerto Rico Islanders, Jonathan Steele led the Assist table for nearly the entire season, posting 1 for the year to earn the Assist Leader honor. He finished the year with two more than Rochester’s Luke Kreamalmeyer and twice as many as the rest, who finishing with five or fewer. Combined with a pair of goals, Steele ranked tied for 13th in the league in points. Puerto Rico’s offense led the league with 43 goals, three more than Minnesota and six more than the next two.
Steele’s teammate Bill Gaudette came up just shy of finishing as the GAA Champion, an honor that fell to Montreal Impact netminder Matt Jordan with a goals against average of 0.760. Jordan was second in the running for the honor last season with an average of 0.648, finishing behind Portland’s Josh Wicks. The honor of finishing with the league’s best goals against average returns to Montreal, where Greg Sutton was the top goalkeeper from 2003-06.
The All-League Teams and Goalkeeper of the Year honors, as voted on by club general managers and coaches, will be announced Tuesday, September 30. The finalists for Defender of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Most Valuable Player will be unveiled Thursday, October 2. The winners of the marquee awards will be announced at the USL First Division Championship banquet.