Kadeisha Buchanan has been given the Hyundai Young Player Award of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™. She becomes the second recipient of the prestigious award, following in the footsteps of Australia’s Caitlin Foord, who earned the accolade at Germany 2011.
The Canadian central defender greatly impressed the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG), which was charged with identifying the tournament’s most outstanding young player and which placed her in a three-woman shortlist that also featured Norwegian attacker Ada Hegerberg and China PR midfielder Jiali Tang.
At the outset, no fewer than 54 players were eligible for the award. The criteria were both administrative – only players born after 1 January 1995 were eligible – and performance-related, taking into account aspects such as exceptional skills, a youthful and refreshing style of play, creativity and spontaneity, tactical maturity and effectiveness, recognition from the fans via enthusiastic displays, role model status, a positive attitude and fair play.
The TSG decided that Buchanan met all of these criteria and more. From the quality of her clearances, long passes and surges forward from the back to her positional sense, strong tackling ability and acceleration, the 19-year-old has demonstrated technical excellence and experience that belie her age.
As for fan recognition, she enjoys practically the same level of popularity in her homeland as iconic veteran Christine Sinclair, with whom she appears on a special postage stamp issued in celebration of Canada 2015.
*Revelation and confirmation
*In addition, Buchanan’s role model status and positive attitude were obvious from the revealing statement she made after the host nation’s elimination at the hands of England in the quarter-finals.
“We came so close to a place in the semi-finals, but our main goal was to make people proud of us and inspire a nation,” she told FIFA.com. “We achieved that goal, at least.”
“I think some people wondered if, as a young player, she could perform consistently at the highest level, and she definitely showed that she could,” said Canadian national coach, John Herdman. “She’s been a rock at the back for our team.”
Part of the Canucks’ starting XI at this Women’s World Cup, the Ottawa Fury star played every minute of her team’s five matches, proving as reliable in defence as she was dangerous at attacking set pieces.
Indeed, it was from a corner that she first made a name for herself on the international stage, scoring against United States in a friendly match in May 2014, during which she kept the threat posed by Abby Wambach to a minimum.
Few would disagree, then, that Buchanan, who was once viewed as a revelation and has now confirmed her standing as an elite player, is a worthy winner of the 2015 Hyundai Young Player Award.
Just want to say thank you to FIFA, CSA, too all the die hard fans and most of all my teammates . I'm truly honoured to win this award
— Kadeisha Buchanan (@keishaballa) July 6, 2015