Veteran James among nominees for Canadian Premier League Defender of the Year

A game ball for the Canadian Premier League is seen during a match between York United FC and Forge Hamilton FC in CPL soccer action at York Lions Stadium in Toronto. (Tijana Martin/CP)

Forge FC’s Manjrekar James, Cavalry FC’s Daan Klomp and Halifax Wanderers FC’s Daniel Nimick are the nominees for Canadian Premier League Defender of the Year Award.

The winner, decided by a vote of CPL club technical leadership and select media, will be announced Oct. 26 in Hamilton in advance of the Oct. 28 CPL final.

James, 30, joined Forge in March from Ukraine’s Chornomorets Odessa. The Canadian international was a defensive force, finishing second in the CPL in recoveries (184) and total passes (1,764). The Toronto native ranked third in aerial duels won (59) and fourth in duels won (175) while logging a team-high 2,340 minutes.

Hamilton-based Forge’s 10 shutouts led the league.

Klomp, 25, anchored Cavalry’s backline during the regular season, becoming the only outfield player to appear in every minute for his club in 2023 while leading the Calgary side to a league-best defensive record. The Dutch centre back finished second in passes completed (1,494), blocks (17) and aerial duels won (51).

Klomp also contributed four goals and added an assist.

Nimick, 23, played the full 90 minutes in all but one of Halifax’s regular-season matches. His six goals, four of which came from the penalty spot, were the most by a CPL defender in 2023. He also recorded three assists.

Nimick led all outfield players with 174 successful long balls played.

Born in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., Nimick was raised in Harrogate, England, and played at Leeds United’s academy from age eight to 16. He attended Western Michigan University.

Voting for the CPL’s annual awards is based on performances during the regular season, not including Canadian Championship, CONCACAF or playoff action.

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