USL released the all-league teams and 2016 league awards finalists this week, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the Orange County Blues were left off the board. There are a few reasons for that: There are 29 teams now in the league and so the odds of getting recognition are longer than ever; the Blues seldom get national media attention; and the Blues were extremely inconsistent most of the season, with even a playoff berth not assured until stoppage time of the final game.
So that's a bummer on a local level, but the reality. That doesn't mean we can't give out some recognition, though!
We're holding an OC Blues Player of the Year vote this season. So we need you to vote.
Here are the five nominees for 2016 Orange County Blues Player of the Year:
Trevin Caesar: The striker led the Blues in scoring with 10 goals, including the timely brace to book a playoff spot for the club. The Trinidad & Tobago international was the Blues' only USL Player of the Week selection in 2016 as well.
Didier Crettenand: The Swiss midfielder was second on the team in scoring, with nine goals, adding two assists for the campaign. The dead ball specialist scored several notable penalties and free kicks during the season, making him a potent weapon for the team on set pieces.
Brenton Griffiths: The steadfast defender was among the leaders in games played this season once more, and worked well with Maurice Pluntke as the primary center back partnership for most of the season. Gets the nomination edge over Pluntke for his three goals scored on the season, including a crucial stoppage time winner on the road against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
Roy Meeus: The left back slid out of favor as the season wore on, but in the early part of the year, he effectively carried the team, serving as primary set piece taker and tallying four goals and four assists overall, good for third on the team in scoring and tied for first in assists.
Ivan Mirkovic: The holding midfielder served as captain most of the season and was second on the team in minutes played. Setting the tone for the team, Mirkovic toed the line between feisty and productive better than just about anyone in the league.
So now it's up to you. Who's your selection for OC Blues Player of the Year? Vote, tell your friends to vote, and feel free to stump for your selection in the comments section below!