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November 16, 2012
Star Sport


Mattocks honoured by Rookie of the Year nod
Robert Bailey, Star Writer

Vancouver Whitecaps' Darren Mattocks (left) vies for the ball with Toronto FC's Ashtone Morgan.

Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks is overwhelmed to be nominated for this year's US Major League Soccer (MLS) Rookie of the Year award and hailed it as a validation of all the hard work he was put into his career so far.

The 22-year-old Mattocks was the leading scorer for the Vancouver Whitecaps, with eight goals, in 21 appearances, for the Canada-based club, in North America's premier professional football league.

"It would be a phenomenal achievement for me to win the award," said Mattocks in an interview with Star Sports yesterday.

"I am confident that I can win it, but the other guys are talented players as well, so really anyone of us can get it," he added.

Mattocks was recently voted the top MLS player under the age of 24 and as a result is favoured to take the award. Austin Berry of Chicago Fire and Nick DeLeon DC United are also vying for the prize.

Jamaican internationals

Mattocks is hoping to join fellow countryman Damani Ralph, as Jamaican internationals that have won the award. Ralph, who netted 11 goals in his rookie season, captured the award in 2003.

The speedy and skilful player became the Whitecaps' first player to score a goal in the MLS play-offs when he netted against the Los Angeles Galaxy in the quarter-finals. The Whitecaps lost the game 2-1.

"This is just hard work paying off me and I am glad to know that people are recognising the work that I have been doing," Mattocks said.

"It would look good on resume, but if I don't win it won't be a setback in terms of where I want to go in my career. I have already won the Best Young Player Award," he said.

The former Bridgeport High star was selected second overall in January's MLS SuperDraft, by the Whitecaps, after playing two seasons at the University of Akron in the United States.

Mattocks, who resides in Portmore, St Catherine, is expected to be a part of Jamaica's senior Reggae Boyz's team for the FIFA CONCACAF final round World Cup qualifiers, which begins in February. The winner of the award will be announced on Monday.

Mattocks is hoping to join fellow countryman Damani Ralph, as Jamaican internationals that have won the award.

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