Atiba Hutchinson named Canadian player of the year

The 29-year-old PSV Eindhoven utility man was tops in voting for the 2012 award, becoming a two-time recipient of the honor.
The Canadian Soccer Association announced Wednesday that Atiba Hutchinson had been named the male selection for the 2012 BMO Canadian Players of the Year Award. The 29-year-old joins Christine Sinclair, who was announced Tuesday as the female selection, as this year's co-recipient.

"I'm very happy with this achievement," Hutchinson said in a conference call. "I didn't really expect it. I know the last couple of months have been going really well for me and I've been in pretty good form after a little bit of a slow start after my injury."

In 2012, Hutchinson made seven appearances for Canada and played 43 times so far for club side PSV Eindhoven. His durability during most of the past calendar year was in stark contrast to an injury-plagued 2011 that Hutchinson called "tough" as he had to rebound from a series of knee surgeries.

"Just to kind of bounce back from that and have a good year of playing football at a high level and feeling very comfortable and playing without pain, that was the most important thing for me," he said. "I wanted to go out there and just enjoy football and be pain free, and that's been really good.

"It's just been getting better and better so I'm really happy with that."

While the Toronto-area native had a good year personally, it obviously didn't go so well for his international side. Canada crashed out of World Cup qualifying in spectacular fashion, but Hutchinson said that he wouldn't be deterred from representing his country at every possible opportunity.

"Obviously, it [the 8-1 defeat in Honduras that eliminated Canada] was a tough loss for everybody involved," he said. "But [international retirement] is not something that's crossed my mind. I'd like to believe I'm still at a pretty young age - not a very young age - but young enough to keep going and keep pushing forward."