Edmonton forward Gloire Amanda on verge of joining select soccer company

·3 min read

Edmonton forward Gloire Amanda can join a select group Thursday when the MAC Hermann Trophy winner is announced by the Missouri Athletic Club.

The 22-year-old Oregon State junior is one of three male finalists for the award that goes annually to the top NCAA soccer player.

While Canadians Kadeisha Buchanan (West Virginia, 2016) and Christine Sinclair (Portland, 2004 and '05) have won the women's award, Teal Bunbury (Akron, 2009) is the only Canadian-born men's winner. The son of former Canadian international Alex Bunbury, Teal has lived in the United States since he was 10 and represents the U.S. internationally.

Amanda is up against Indiana sophomore forward Victor Bezerra and Pittsburgh sophomore forward Valentin Noel.

"It feels really good," Amanda said Wednesday, "because I think my teammates and my team have been through a lot this year. And I think any of my teammates could be where I am."

"COVID definitely left everything in disarray," he added. "I'm just lucky that my team was one of those teams that didn't have any setbacks."

The three women's finalists are Florida State junior midfielder Jaelin Howell, North Carolina junior midfielder Brianna Pinto and Florida State senior defender Malia Berkely.

The finalists were chosen in voting by NCAA Division I men's and women's soccer coaches.

The winners will be announced Thursday at the MAC Hermann Trophy Banquet in St. Louis.

Amanda led NCAA ranks in both goals (15) and total points (37) and was named to the All-Pac-12 and All-Far West Region first team as well as the United Soccer Coaches' All-America first team and Top Drawer Soccer Best XI first team. His 37 points set the Oregon State single-season record.

Amanda tied Alan Gordon for the second-highest Oregon State goals total in a season. He scored in 10 of the Beavers' 14 matches this spring, including five multi-goal games., and ended eighth in NCAA ranks in total assists with seven.

Amanda matched the fourth-most goals in Pac-12 history and now ranks sixth in Oregon State history for both career goals (25) and points (61).

Asked about his strengths, Amanda pointed to his movement and holdup play.

"I think I have the ability to bring all my teammates into the game and I read space very well as well," he said.

The five-foot-10 170-pounder spent time in the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program prior to attending Oregon State. Growing up, he played for Edmonton Xtreme FC, Edmonton Internazionale and FC Edmonton's reserve side.

He is attending the awards banquet with Oregon State coach Terry Boss. With the pandemic, it was too difficult for his parents to attend

Amanda's first name is the French word for glory, with his parents drawing on the phrase French phrase "gloire a Dieu" or "Glory to God."

Oregon State finished the year 9-5 and made the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the last three years. The Beavers lost 2-1 in overtime to to Virginia Tech in the second round.

"It's been a blast," Amanda said of his time at Oregon State. "The past three years have bene fantastic. Honestly I can't thank the program enough — and all the friends I made as well. For me I think that's the most important thing — the friendships I've built while being here."

Among the other finalists, Bezerra was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Conference Tournament, while tallying 11 goals in 11 games played.

France's Noel ended the regular season with 11 goals, finishing first in the Atlantic Coast Conference and earning a spot on the All-ACC first team.

Kyle Hiebert of LaSalle, Man., a senior defender at Missouri State, and Noah Jensen of Courtice, Ont., a senior midfielder at Oakland University, were among the 15 semifinalists for the men's award.

The MAC Hermann Trophy is presented by World Wide Technology.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 26, 2021.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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