The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) is proud to announce that the 2017 NPSL Golden Boot will be awarded to Orange County FC forward Alessandro Canale and Albion SC PROS forward Amani Walker.
Both players finished with 18 goals on the season. Dakota Fusion FC forward Jade Johnson finished in second place with 17 goals.
Canale spent time at both Santa Monica College and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Canale tallied 24 goals and eight assists for the Corsairs to earn Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2012.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win this award,” Canale commented. “It’s a great accomplishment to win this award for myself, for the team and for the entire OCFC organization. Congratulations to Amani Walker on his well-played season and tremendous scoring ability. I would like to thank my teammates and all the work they have put in this season, the entire OCFC staff, and the fans that came out to support us doing what we love to do. Also, a special thank you to my family who has always supported and encouraged me to follow my heart. I’m not done yet.”
The Santa Monica, California native was named NSCAA All-West Region Third Team and All-CCAA Honorable Mention after contributing five goals and three assists in 2013, helping UCSD into the third round of the playoffs. He was a team co-captain for the Tritons in 2014, contributing two goals and five assists before suffering a season-ending injury.
“Alessandro Canale is a true joy for sport fans to see play soccer,” Orange County head coach Paul Caligiuri added. “His first touch on the ball alone is jaw-dropping, which has stunned and amazed even our Orange County Football Club opponents. The Orange County FC family are all very happy for him to be entering into an elite class of soccer players through recognition of receiving the NPSL 2017 Golden Boot alongside Armani Walker.”
Canale has also become a regular with the U.S. Beach Soccer National Team, appearing in all three group matches of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Tahiti 2013. In the summer of 2014, he also played for the U.S. in a tournament in Portugal and an exhibition match versus Brazil.
In addition, he gained experience with the NPSL’s San Diego Flash.
Walker lettered all four years at Francis Parker High School, winning C.I.F. Division IV Player of the Year in 2007. After graduating from high school in 2007, the Linda Vista, CA native joined the University of California Irvine (UCI), where he majored in international studies. During his senior season at UCI, Walker led the team with 11 goals. Walker is the all-time leader in games played at UCI with 85. He finished his college career with 29 goals and 11 assists.
“I’m honored, happy, and humbled to receive this award,” Walker continued. “Coach Ziggy and I had a conversation early on in the season about it and he convinced me it was possible; it was then all about making it happen on the field. I want to thank him, the coaching staff, the entire Albion club and organization, and most of all, my teammates, who were such an integral part of accomplishing this goal.”
In 2011, the Chicago Fire drafted Walker, but he ultimately signed with the Minnesota Stars. He won an NASL championship with the Stars in 2011. After leaving Minnesota, Walker spent time with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and OC Blues before joining the PROS in February 2017.
“Amani had a terrific season for the PROS,” Albion SC PROS head coach Ziggy Korytoski concluded. “He was someone we could rely on up-top and was obviously extremely productive for us in scoring and creating goals. His preparation and attitude is always first-class and he deserves every bit of the success he has achieved. I believe you’re going to see him scoring goals at a very high level as his career continues in the coming years.”