Fan-led North American All-Star Award returns for 2022

05/07/2022 16comments  |  Jump to last

Supporters across North America have the opportunity to select the second-ever winner of an award that celebrates Everton's historic and present ties with the USA or Canada.

The ‘Everton North American All Star Award' will recognise the contributions of players, coaches and managers that have represented the Blues and have a connection with or hail from the continent.

Tomasz Radzinski, Sam Chedgzoy, Steve Seargeant and Adrian Heath are the nominees for 2022, with the winner due to be decided by a fan vote. To learn more about each nominee please click here.

All members of affiliated North American Everton Supporters' Clubs are eligible to vote and will be emailed and asked to make their choice before the voting period ends on Wednesday 13 July. The winner will be announced at an event as part of the activities taking place during the Club's pre-season tour of the United States which will see Everton take on Arsenal in Baltimore, Maryland and then visit Minnesota United in Minneapolis-St Paul, Minnesota.    

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The four individuals were nominated by an advisory committee made up of key supporters' group figures, members of the Everton Fans' Forum, fan media, historians and also representation from within Everton Football Club itself. 

Former goalkeeper Tim Howard was the winner of the inaugural award last year as he was celebrated during Everton's successful Florida Cup trip.

The Club has long boasted strong connections to the US and Canada, with more than 150 individuals making a contribution to Everton's history over many decades.

Tony Sampson, Chair of the Everton Fans' Forum and a member of the Chicago Evertonians, said: “It is great to see Everton coming back to the US this summer and for the North American All Star Awards to return. The committee have worked hard to establish the award which is becoming an annual summer tradition.

“Through the North American Supporters' Club Network and the North American All Stars Committee we have been keen to build on the connections between Everton and North America and pay tribute to those who have played an important role in making Everton one of the most recognised and highly regarded Premier League teams on the continent.

“We have a group of worthy nominees and this is a brilliant way for Blues from around the world to learn about the people who have played a part in creating the special links between Everton and North America. I'd like to thank the Club for partnering with us to provide an additional level of support and exposure as we build on the success of last year in Orlando.”

Dr David France, OBE, who last year was the first ever winner of the “Trailblazer All Star Award” , in recognition of the significant contribution he has made in developing Everton's presence and connections in North America, said: "With the easing of COVID restrictions and the lifting of the blue smoke from a difficult season, I look forward to meeting old and new friends from both sides of the Atlantic in my adopted homeland. 

"Last year, the events in Florida, expertly organised by the US supporters' clubs and Everton Football Club's Fan Engagement team were memorable for their passion and confirmed the special relationship between Merseyside's senior Club and the New World”

For supporters wishing to learn more about Everton's links with North America, Dr France co-authored a 600 page book, ToffeeSoccer, with Darren Griffiths and Rob Sawyer containing expertly researched profiles, candid interviews and unique illustrations of men and women who have made an impact on Everton and across the Atlantic.  

Tickets for both of Everton's games in the USA are still available to purchase. More information on both of the Blues fixtures is available by visiting

For any Evertonians interested in joining a Supporters' Club please click here to search our directory and find the nearest club to you wherever you are in the world.

Blues interested in setting up their own Supporters' Club can find out more information on how by clicking here.


Reader Comments (16)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 05/07/2022 at
I'll be voting for Adrian. I don't know about the other nominees, but Inchy has established a deep and personal connection with the North American game.

After a successful run managing in Orlando, he became MLS expansion club Minnesota United's first and (so far) only manager. They haven't done well on the pitch -- no big-name overseas talents want to play in Minnesota -- but Inchy has helped turn a soccer-indifferent region into a footy-mad area with his community outreach. United is in the top half of MLS in average attendance despite the absence of any local soccer tradition or a contending team.

Inchy also helped establish United's youth academy, which reaches all the way down to the U-8s. My friend there has been impressed with the quality of the coaching his son gets.

I think it would be great if Inchy were presented with the award in front of his home crowd.

Jonathan Oppenheimer
2 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Mike, I have no vote here, but I have to weigh in, if only because you’re typically spot on with your analyses and research, and since you’re good at calling people out when they’re totally off base, I know you appreciate the back and forth. Also, I don’t want to denigrate Inchy, because Minnesota fans are grateful for what he’s done to take us from new MLS team to average MLS team, and it’s pretty cool to have an Everton legend managing our local club.

Your first paragraph is spot on, as Heath has been fully committed to growing American soccer for well over a decade. Beyond that, though, he will be remembered for leading third tier Orlando City to the promised land and then being sacked with a losing record in the middle of his second season when they made the jump to MLS. And then a decidedly mediocre run here in Minnesota.

At this point the overwhelming consensus among knowledgeable fans is that he’s taken us far as he can, but were it not for a run to the conference semi-finals in our weird American playoff system a couple years ago, fans would have been calling for his head long ago. I can tell you no one was happy to hear about his recent contract extension, because we’ve made some terrible decisions on big signings and have no discernible playing style, and this year our offense has been awful — though it picked up a bit the last two matches. But whether one would call his tenure here a success is more up for debate.

What I have to really disagree with you on, because it matters in terms of where we are as a true club, is that somehow Inchy contributed to the excitement and attendance of our fans through community outreach. Our club’s community outreach is a joke, as is our academy system — which is not exactly his fault, because the team doesn’t want to invest in it — and the stadium support is because we have enough hipsters and suburban soccer moms and dads with money to fill the stadium in overpriced seats. It’s certainly not because the club or Inchy has made this a people’s club in any sense of the word. They built a beautiful stadium and there was enough of a built-in fan base to mostly fill it the past few years, in part due to a core group of supporters that goes back decades here: the Minnesota Kicks were huge in the 1970s, as were the Strikers in the 80, and the Minnesota Thunder went to the US Open Cup semi-finals in 2005 after knocking off a few MLS squads. So this region is far from soccer indifferent, and in fact this history — and the Minnesota nice way of never really calling things like they are — have allowed Heath to carry on as long as he has. They keep coming and they will rarely be vocal in demanding change, which is what we need.

Also, I’ve never seen Inchy out and about in the community. I wish this were the case, but I’ve never met anyone who feels he has some special connection to the region, and he is decidedly not the reason for soccer excitement here. As for the academy, maybe there’s some decent coaching there, but an academy that decided a year or two ago to not even be full-time — which cost them a few good players leaving to other academies — is nothing to write home about. We’ve also yet to play a homegrown player with any consistency, and while I get this takes time, your friend is the only person I’ve ever heard state that our academy is in good hands.

Lastly, there is no evidence that big foreign players don’t want to play here, unless you’re taking about the Lampards, Gerrards, Henrys, Beckhams, Ibras, etc. Those guys don’t want to play anywhere but NY or LA. But for more than $2 million a year, our top player from France has barely played this season, we had a young designated player from Uruguay who pretty much never saw the field before he left, and the list of duds goes on and on. We also got rid of Christian Ramirez and Mason Toye, two very good American strikers, to bring in a string of mediocre imports; that’s 100% on Heath. Plenty of other teams find above average foreign players all the time, and besides Emmanuel Reynoso, who is very good, we’ve missed more than we’ve hit. Especially with strikers, which should be his forte.

Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t vote for Heath, but his coaching career and impact on Minnesota soccer at the top level here has been pretty average at best.

Kieran Kinsella
3 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Weird nominees. Radzinski was a flop at Everton and Canada were terrible during his career. Never heard of Sergeant before today but he doesn’t sound legend material from what I’ve read. So Chedgzoy might get a shot if enough people know about football pre World War I but I imagine Inchy will get it.

I guess they’re scratching around to plump it out. Maybe Cody Arnoux and Anton Forrester will be nominees next year. But if we are looking at great beyond just Everton time you’ve got Gough, Warzycha, it’s hard to make any case for Preki as an Evertonian, but Cahill had a decent spell in America and was great at Everton obviously

Alan McGuffog
4 Posted 06/07/2022 at
All about opinions I know but I'd never describe Tommy Radzinski as a flop, during his time here.
Mike Gaynes
5 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Jonathan #2, I wasn't commenting on Inchy's coaching ability. The friend I mentioned is a season ticket holder whose opinion is similar to yours, and who was similarly un-thrilled with the contract extension. He has a higher regard for Adrian's connection with the fans -- he knows and likes him -- and the Academy youth coaching, which he sees firsthand. But I totally accept and respect your viewpoint on that.

However, I'm going to have to dispute you just a bit on your glowing account of Minnesota soccer history. I covered the Kicks as a sportscaster from '79-'81 -- I did a couple of fun stories with Ace Ntsolengoe and Tino Lettieri, even took a PK on Tino (and scored it!). It was a fading franchise. The big crowds of their first two seasons had plummeted by half, and from the press box at Met Stadium I could hear the players talking on the pitch.

Also, my memory of MISL (I saw games as a fan, a reporter and a reserve referee) was that the Strikers were not among the more successful franchises. I looked it up and they did, in fact, draw significantly lower crowds than the league average, and barely half of what teams like KC, Cleveland and Chicago attracted to every game. (I was a massive Sting fan.)

Finally, to the best of my recollection, Bjorn Nordqvist remains the only top-level international ever signed by a Minnesota professional team. (If your memory is fresher, please share.)

So I still think United is swimming upstream in a region where there simply isn't the soccer tradition of other places in the US. (Heck, the mighty Gophers don't even field a men's team in any division.) And in my view Inchy's contribution to the impact of the pro game there makes him a far larger benefactor to North American soccer than any of the other nominees. He's got my vote.

Danny O’Neill
6 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Detailed analysis Jonathan.

If I were running an MLS team, I'd focus on reaching into the developing pool of talent that is emerging there.

I know it's commercially a thing, but taking on past it Premier League superstars on big salaries who can still probably look good there isn't a strategy. And I'd be interested to understand how some of them faired. I mean, when the legs are gone, they're gone right?

A couple of observations, but I'll have to leave the expert comments to the US cohort.

I don't think the MLS should go down the route (pronounced root not rowt!!) of the failed 1970s predecessor that seemingly became a retirement home for European mercenaries. I don't think it has done, but it's a danger.

Having attended a few MLS fixtures, strike the balance between corporate and the football. On one end of the spectrum, Everton are an example of how not to capitalise on the inevitable and necessary commercial and corporate aspects of the game.

On the other, I always remember watching LA Galaxy against Chicago Fire years ago. It amazed me that the half time entertainment with band and all carried on way into the second half. I get the need to capitalise on the commercials, but those in the boxes spent more time dancing, partying and drinking than watching football.

I appreciate there are different cultures, but it's ultimately about the football.

Mike Gaynes
7 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Danny, I'd say MLS has already successfully avoided that trap. It's still a last stop for guys like Bale, Higuain and Shaqiri, but the best and most popular players in the league these days are guys like Carles Gil, Ruidiaz, Mukhtar and Castellanos who have built their careers in MLS. They're the core of the league, not the old stars from Europe.
Jonathan Oppenheimer
8 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Danny, I think and hope the aging superstar signings in MLS are a thing of the the past, because it typically won’t make the squad that much better. But in some cases if it’s about generating money and excitement then maybe it makes sense. American soccer fans are getting a bit more savvy, watching more EPL, etc., but most of them are still pretty ignorant and maybe are attracted to the big names. Given how many MLS stadiums are half-empty, if it puts butts in the seats I can understand it. The move of late seems to be more towards stars/semi-stars making the move to MLS a bit younger and at the end of their prime years, a la Shaqiri and Insigne and with talk of Lingaard coming over to get the insane money he’s looking for. That influx of very good players from Europe makes sense assuming you’re not wildly overpaying, I would think. There is no one ideal for MLS, because as the league gets stronger, you still have to strike the right balance and find harmony on the field, and you can do that somewhat with young Americans of your academy is strong enough, but otherwise have to blend affordable Central and South Americans with solid homegrown guys and the occasional mid-level European. Most MLS teams go up and down, because it’s tough to find that balance consistently.

Mike, I didn’t mean to say Minnesota’s soccer history is absolutely glowing, but the Kicks had their years getting 40,000+ and the Strikers I think 15,000 or so for at least a year, which in the 1980s I would think wasn’t insignificant. I just meant to say we were not indifferent when Inchy came along. I was a season ticket holder in the few years of NASL before we made the jump and we were getting several thousand fans to the Sports Center up in Blaine for those matches. It’s true we didn’t have the massive fan base for a semi-pro team that they had in Cincinnati, for example, but there has consistently been a team in one form or another for a long time, which made it easier for us to make that jump. I’m not intimately involved with the club, so I’ll defer to your friend about Heath on the inside, but the part that struck me was his feeling of a connection to the fans. I’ve never sensed that at all, but I’m not in a supporters group, so I’ll ask some of them and see if I’m somehow getting it wrong. All that said, he does seem like a very good guy who cares a lot.

As for top-level internationals coming to play here, it’s true there are not many as I think you’re defining them, but isn’t that true of most MLS teams not in big markets. We don’t produce a huge number of big-time players, which makes it sad when we can’t keep a Caden Clark or bring a Jackson Yueill to play for their home town team. But it’s not like we haven’t had solid players the last few years who go out on international duty: Michael Boxall, Robin Lod, Kevin Molino, Romain Metanire, Jan Gregus, and now Dayne St. Clair. Point is that we have the ability to get decent talent, especially if we make the right people designated players, but in order to be even more attractive we need to take the next step up from where we are now. Time will tell whether that happens.

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Mike, Jonathan,

Thanks for the insight.

I'd actually like to see Everton go into partnership with an MLS club. What a fantastic opportunity to send some of our fringe or younger players out to train, play and develop, as well as build the Everton brand in the US.

If they don't already, make them wear Royal Blue and have St Rupert's Tower on the shirt somewhere. I think it would be a great initiative.

Dale Self
10 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Please do not wear Royal Blue in the States. It has been imbued with political meaning here. Hopefully that league is getting past its Euro senior circuit rep (actually saw San Jose playing some decent ball recently). Don't go with a large footprint unless you really know the franchise, San Jose has been rather dodgy over the years.
Jamie Crowley
11 Posted 06/07/2022 at
I'm a little stunned I'm not on the list. 😂

Dale @10 -

What are you talking about? What ridiculous, cooked-up notion have they invented now? What in the world is wrong with wearing Royal (a color in the flag by the way) in America??

Jesus above if you're being serious can we stop the nonsense? What's next on the virtue signal no-no list? Fucking hell will it ever stop?

I'm going to start wearing a rainbow T-shirt with a huge red slash through it just to fuck with people if this trend continues. On the back will be big, bold letters saying: TOXIC MASCULINITY RULES!


Man, what in the world is wrong with Royal Blue???

Dale Self
12 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Right off with the virtue signalling whining, damn. When neanderfucks who put stupid fuck blue stripes, yes royal blue, on their cosplay black ops flag there is something wrong. But no, it is nothing wrong with Royal Blue, what is wrong is the behavior of the fuckwits who think they can hijack some cultcha and get over on the libtards. Funny how they all stopped wearing the GS Warriors costumes after the Russian invasion. Ask them what is wrong with Royal Blue although it was probably the combo with yellow looking like they might support Ukraine.

To be continued I assume. I'll check back this afternoon.

Jamie Crowley
13 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Honestly Dale, I'm entirely confused. Swear to God.

I have zero idea about this anti-Royal thingy!

But I do hate the virtue signaling! ;0)

Dale Self
14 Posted 06/07/2022 at
I'll pull back then. It is a thing. Don't try to tell me that 45% of the geriatrics in my area only have the colors Royal Blue, khaki and black in their WARdrobe.

The WARdrobe Jamie! There is your damn virtue signalling, seriously.

Jamie Crowley
15 Posted 06/07/2022 at
Got it.

U da man, Dale.

Terry Farrell
16 Posted 10/07/2022 at
Cracking idea, Danny – push that forward, mate!

I also think Radzinski did okay and was not a flop.

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