Miami FC forward Stéfano Pinho was named winner of North American Soccer League Golden Ball award as the league’s most valuable player.
Pinho, 26, received the most votes from fans and media after racking up 17 goals and four assists. He also claimed the NASL Golden Boot award as the league’s top goal-scorer. The Brazilian’s outstanding play helped Miami earn the spring and fall season titles, as well as the top seed in The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament.
A native of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Pinho was named player of the week twice and was also featured on team of the week six times. He scored four goals in a 7-0 victory over the San Francisco Deltas – a game that clinched Miami the spring season title. Pinho scored at least two goals in a game on two other occasions and finished the fall season with four goals in the final four games.
He began his career with Fluminense before spending loan spells in Brazil, Finland, and the U.S., where he took home the NASL Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards in 2015 as a member of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. He scored 16 goals that season.
Pinho spent last season with Minnesota United, where he scored five goals in the league.
The Cosmos eliminated Pinho and Miami FC from The Championship Sunday.
2011: Etienne Barbara (Carolina RailHawks, 20 goals, eight assists)
2012: Pablo Campos (San Antonio Scorpions, 21 goals, five assists)
2013: Georgi Hristov (Tampa Bay Rowdies, 12 goals, eight assists)
2014: Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United, eight goals, five assists)
2015: Stéfano Pinho (Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 16 goals, seven assists)
2016: Juan Arango (New York Cosmos, 15 goals, seven assists)