CONCACAF Year-End Awards: Nominees and Projected Winners

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CONCACAF has bred some pretty good players in recent years, sending some abroad and keeping others right at home to help the sport grow.  Whether it be in a small stadium in Costa Rica during a league game, or in a 60,000-capacity crowd in Rio during the World Cup, CONCACAF players have made us proud in 2014.

Jun 29, 2014; Recife, Pernambuco, BRAZIL; Costa Rica midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda (17) hugs Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas (1) after they defeated Greece during penalty kicks in a World Cup game at Arena Pernambuco. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the nominees:

Bryan Ruiz, Forward, Costa Rica/Fulham (Eng.2)

Celso Borges, Midfielder, Costa Rica/AIK (Swe)

Joel Campbell, Forward, Costa Rica/Arsenal (Eng)

Keylor Navas, Goalkeeper, Costa Rica/Real Madrid (Esp)

Javier Hernandez, Forward, Mexico/Real Madrid (Esp)

Giovani Dos Santos, Forward, Mexico/Villareal (Esp)

Guillermo Ochoa, Goalkeeper, Mexico/Malaga (Esp)

Rafael Marquez, Defender, Mexico/Hellsa Verona (Ita)

Clint Dempsey, Forward, United States/Seattle Sounders

Tim Howard, Goalkeeper, United States/Everton (Eng)

Pick to Win:

Keylor Navas, Costa Rica.  Fellow Costa Ricans Joel Campbell may have been the offensive firepower behind Los Ticos’ thrilling run to the quarterfinals, but it was Navas’s consistency as a backdrop that the Costa Ricans have to thank.  While his goalkeeping counterparts Tim Howard and Memo Ochoa had spectacular single-game outings,  Navas topped them all. Not only was he one of La Liga’s most prominent keepers in 2014, but he stood tall against the hi-powered attacks from Uruguay, Italy, Holland, and England. He allowed just two goals in the World Cup.  His heroics in the Round of 16 shootouts vs. Greece got Costa Rica through to the last eight, as he stonewalled Theofanis Gekas to set up the last shot.

Next: Female Player of the Year