On Thursday, the Canadian Premier League revealed that Cavalry FC defender Daan Klomp has been voted the 2023 Player of the Year. The award is given to the player voted best in the league by media members from across the country and technical staff representatives from each club.
The 25-year-old was the league’s only outfield player to appear in every minute of all 28 matches for his club, and was critical to Cavalry lifting the 2023 CPL Shield as regular season winners. Klomp was also named the league’s Defender of the Year for the 2023 season.
With Klomp at the centre of defence, Cavalry allowed the fewest goals against of any team this season, with just 27. Klomp also scored four times this season, and added an assist. He was key in building Cavalry’s attacks from the back, finishing second in the league in passes completed (1494), completing a tidy 90 per cent of his passes while playing 120 successful long balls.
“For me, he is the most important player for us this year,” Wheeldon Jr. told the Calgary Sun earlier this season. “He sets the tone as a playmaking defender. His intelligence and understanding of the game has seen him come on in leaps and bounds this year.”
Klomp was also named the league’s Player of the Month for September and made a stunning 11 appearances in the Gatorade Team of the Week.
Klomp is the first member of Cavalry FC to be named the league’s Player of the Year, and also the first defensive player to win the honour. Past recipients of the award include Atlético Ottawa midfielder Ollie Bassett (2022), Halifax Wanderers attacker João Morelli (2021), and Forge FC duo Kyle Bekker (2020) and Tristan Borges (2019).
The other players nominated for this year’s award were Pacific FC’s Manny Aparicio, Forge FC’s Bekker, Halifax Wanderers’ Lorenzo Callegari and Klomp’s Cavalry teammate, Ali Musse.
The CPL Player of the Year is awarded with the Nikisuittuq, a sculpture crafted by Pitseolak Qimirpik of the inukshuk which provides a stone landmark to lead travellers home — with a top stone that points towards the North Star.