TORONTO — New England Revolution sophomore Tajon Buchanan and Canadian under-20 stalwart Jade Rose have been named the 2020 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year.
The two were recognized for their performances and progress as part of Canada Soccer’s national teams program, albeit in a pandemic-affected 2020.
For 2020, the women's award was drawn from players who took part in the 2020 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in February and March in the Dominican Republic. The men's award was drawn from under-23 players, given that no international youth competitions took place because of COVID-19.
Buchanan was one of 20 players selected to represent Canada at the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in March before the tournament was postponed.
The 21-year-old from Brampton, Ont., made his mark during the MLS season, leading all Canadians by appearing in all 23 regular-season games. Buchanan scored his first MLS goal on Sept. 12 and his first MLS playoff goal Nov. 24, both against league-leading Philadelphia.
He was one of only two Revolution players to appear in every regular season game for the Revolution, and has also started all three of New England’s playoff wins to date.
Buchanan also started 10 of New England's last 12 regular-season games. While normally a forward, he has thrived at right back to meet team needs in the regular-season stretch drive.
Rose, runner-up for the youth award in 2019, anchored the Canadian defence at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship. A centre back, she was the only player to start in all five of Canada’s matches at the tournament.
The 17-year-old from Markham, Ont., led Canada, playing 446 minutes through to the quarterfinals when the team was eliminated by the eventual champion Americans.
A member of Canada Soccer’s youth program since 2017, Rose previously played at the CONCACAF U-15 and U-17 championships as well as the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
She took part in two senior camps in 2019 and featured in an exhibition training match against Japan.
Previous youth award winners were Jayden Nelson and Olivia Smith (2019) and Derek Cornelius and Jordyn Huitema (2018).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020