Ashley Lawrence capped off a strong 2019 on Thursday by being named the Canadian women’s player of the year.
It’s the first time that Lawrence, who plays professionally in France for Paris Saint-Germain, has won the honour.
Lawrence, a 24-year-old from Caledon East, Ont., finished ahead of forward Janine Beckie (Manchester City), defender Kadeisha Buchanan (Lyon), forward Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns) and goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé (N.C. Courage) in voting by Canadian media and coaches.
An industrious midfielder who can also play at right fullback, Lawrence led Canada in assists (four) and minutes played (1,215) in 2019. She was also one of only four players to play all 15 games for the Reds this year, including four matches at this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
At the club level, Lawrence helped Paris Saint-Germain finish second in the French league standings and reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Canadian coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller lauded Lawrence as “a fantastic, positive individual” and a “world-class player.”
Ashley Lawrence is Canada Soccer's #CANWNT 2019 Canadian Player of the Year
“She has the ability to pass, cross and shoot with both feet; she is able to play at several positions on the highest level. In 2019, her leadership abilities continued to develop both on and off the pitch, providing a positive impact on both her younger teammates as well as her own game,” Heiner-Møller said in a news release.
Lawrence has earned 83 caps since making her national team debut as a teenager in 2013, scoring five goals and tallying eight assists along the way. She previously won the Canadian U-17 Player of the Year award in 2011 and 2012.
Earlier this week, Jayden Nelson and Olivia Smith won the Canadian Youth International Players of the Year honours, while Gent forward Jonathan David was named the Canadian men’s player of the year.
The Canadian women’s player of the year award was first handed out in 1994, with the inaugural award going to Charmaine Hooper. Other winners over the years have included Andrea Neil, Kadeisha Buchanan, Gerri Donnelly, Janine Helland and Silvana Burtini.
Sinclair has won the award a record 14 times, including 11 consecutive honours from 2004-14. Sinclair first won the award in 2000 as a 17-year-old.