The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation today announces Trinidad and Tobago World Cup team captain Dwight Yorke as its “Player of the Year” for 2006 and subsequent nominee for the First Citizen’s Bank Sports Foundation “Sportsman of the Year” award.
This agreed upon by the TTFF as it was felt that Yorke, leading the “Soca Warriors” to a commendable display at the 2006 World Cup, was the fitting choice with his inspiring contribution despite the stirring performances of some of his other teammates during the 2006 season.
TTFF’s nomination for “Sportswoman of the Year” is National Women’s Team player Ayanna Russell. She was a member of the T&T Senior Women’s Team that progressed to the CONCACAF Gold Cup and final stages of the World Cup qualifying competition where T&T lost 3-0 to Mexico in Miami last November. Russell is also eligible to represent T&T at the Under 20 World qualifiers this year.
Yorke, also named 2005 “Player of the Year” is coming off arguably his most successful year on the international stage. He led from the front, beginning the year with a pair of goals in a 2-0 victory over Iceland in a warm up international in London in February. He subsequently led his troops in further warm up matches leading up to their creditable 0-0 draw with Sweden in their opening World Cup fixture. Yorke was presented with the “Man of the Match” award for his workmanlike performance on that day in Dortmund.
Yorke was later voted the best defensive player of the group stage of the 2006 World Cup.
The former Manchester United forward who was converted into a deep-end midfielder by head coach Leo Beenhakker earned plaudits for his display in the 270 plus minutes of T&T's appearance in Germany.
According to a release from FIFA: There are some wonderful defensive talents on show at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany - with the likes of Roberto Ayala, Alessandro Nesta, John Terry to name but three. But the best defender in the group games was actually a forward player converted to play as a deep-lying midfielder.
"For years Dwight Yorke was renowned for his striking ability and consistent marksmanship. At the FIFA World Cup, used effectively by Trinidad and Tobago in a defensive midfield role, he topped the rankings in terms of successful tackles made."
For his contribution to the national team in the 2006 FIFA World Cup he was made a Sports Ambassador for Trinidad and Tobago.
Yorke, a former record signing for the England Premier League giants and one of football's most popular clubs, was listed 43rd out of Manchester United's top 50 players of all time.
The list was compiled by United for the recently-released Manchester United Opus, which is a limited edition 850-page book on the "Red Devils".
Also in 2006, in March, Yorke played a major role in leading Sydney FC to victory in the inaugural A-League Grand Final against Central Coast Mariners. He set up the only goal, scored by Steve Corica, in front of a sell out crowd of over 41,000 at Aussie Stadium, and was awarded the Joe Marston Medal as best player in the grand final.
Yorke was the "marquee" player for Sydney FC - meaning that his salary fell outside the salary cap. He was also a star name for the A-League as a whole. Aside from his footballing talents, the drawing power and credibility he brought both locally and internationally proved to be beneficial for the competition in its inaugural season, leading the FFA to use his image and name for the promotion of the A-League's second season.
On August 31, 2006, Yorke's transfer to Sunderland was announced. The transfer reunited Yorke with ex-teammate Roy Keane, now manager of Sunderland. Yorke made his debut in the home match against Leicester City, and received a rapturous standing ovation from home fans when he came on as a substitute in the first half. He scored his first goal for Sunderland in the 2-1 loss against Stoke, and has become firmly accepted by the people of Sunderland, switching on the city's Christmas lights in 2006.