North American Soccer League Coaches Name Best XI for 2012
The NASL announced the league’s Best XI on Tuesday. The selections were made by the 8 coaches of the league’s teams with San Antonio’s Pablo Campos, Fort Lauderdale’s Walter Restrepo and Carolina’s Nick Zimmerman being unanimous choices.
The top two teams in the league standings at the end of the season were rewarded by the highest amount of selections. Both the San Antonio Scorpions and the Tampa Bay Rowdies each had 3 players selected. Pablo Campos, Walter Ramirez and Ryan Cochrane were chosen from the Scorpions and Luke Mulholland, Takuya Yamada and Jeff Attinella were selections from the Rowdies.
Five of the 11 players chosen were 24 years of age or younger with Fort Lauderdale’s Mark Anderson the youngest at 23. They were Mulholland, Restrepo, Paul Hamilton (Edmonton) and Attinella.
Here is the NASL Best XI for 2012 listed in alphabetical order by position.
Mark Anderson, Fort Lauderdale Strikers
TheStrikers’ forward recorded 11 goals and 3 assists in 1788 minutes of action during the 2012 season. A native of Durham, England, Anderson joined the Strikers in 2012 after a successful career at Barry University where he was named the Daktronics DII Player of the Year for 2011. Anderson is renowned for his spectacular long distance efforts on goal.
Pablo Campos, San Antonio Scorpions
The native of Rio De Janiero, Brazil was the recipient of the 2012 NASL Golden Boot as the leading scorer in the league. Campos scored 20 goals this season, after recording 12 last season with the Carolina RailHawks. Campos is the now the leading goal scorer in NASL history with 37 in all competitions. The 29-year-old forward won NASL Offensive Player of the Week five times this season, leading the league in this honor.
Luke Mulholland, Tampa Bay Rowdies
The Rowdies’ midfielder recorded five goals and five assists this season. From Preston, England, Mulholland played a pivotal role in the playoff run last year of the 2011 NASL Champion Minnesota Stars. Mulholland provides a steady presence on the ball for Rowdies as well as excellent off ball runs to provide outlets for his teammates in the final third.
Walter Ramirez, San Antonio Scorpions
Ramirez, a Honduran international, has two goals and six assists on the season. Playing wide on the left side of San Antonio’s midfield Ramirez’s pace and dribbling skills were vital as the Scorpions claimed the NASL Regular Season Championship.
Walter Restrepo, Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Restrepo, a San Diego, California native, suffered a torn ACL late in the season for the Strikers and missed the final six games of the season. Despite this injury, Restrepo still tied for the league lead in assists with eight and contributed six goals while energizing the Fort Lauderdale offense from his role as the club’s attacking midfielder.
Nick Zimmerman, Carolina RailHawks
Zimmerman led the RailHawks with 15 goals this season. The Tampa, Florida native is the second all-time leading goal scorer in NASL history with 21 across all competitions, and is the second leading scorer in club history. Zimmerman played centrally, out wide and up front this season for RailHawks excelling in each role.
Kyle Altman, Minnesota Stars FC
Captaining the Stars to a second successive playoff appearance, Altman logged 1700 minutes for the team this season. Last season, the Albuquerque, New Mexico, native helped the Stars to the NASL Championship. The 26-year-old is known for his steady play at the back acting as a stopper in front of the Stars goalkeeper.
Ryan Cochrane, San Antonio Scorpions
Cochrane, a two-time MLS Cup Champion with the Houston Dynamo logged 2,276 minutes this season in defense for NASL Regular Season Champion Scorpions. The Portland, Oregon native scored a goal and added three assists during the season. Cochrane anchored a backline that conceded just 27 goals this season, the lowest total in the league.
Paul Hamilton, FC Edmonton
The Calgary, Alberta native led his club in minutes played with 2,024.The rugged 24-year-old center back helped organize the “Eddies” backline this season. Hamilton was named NASL Defensive Player of the Week on May 14th.
Takuya Yamada, Tampa Bay Rowdies
Yamada, a Japanese international was the only field player in the NASL to play every minute this season. Yamada, the last remaining player from the Tampa Bay’s 2010 inaugural season was a member of Japan’s 2004 Asian Cup winning squad. The 38-year-old won NASL Defensive Player of the Week on September 10th.
Jeff Attinella, Tampa Bay Rowdies
Attinella led the NASL in saves this season with 118 saves and boasted a stellar 1.07 goals-against-average. The Clearwater, Florida, native has started over 50 games for his hometown club over the past two seasons. The 24-year-old won NASL Defensive Player of the Week five times this season, which led the league.