AFC Ann Arbor defender Joseph Stanley Okumu has been named the 2018 TopDrawerSoccer.com Player of the Year. The selection was made by the staff of TopDrawerSoccer.com.
“TopDrawerSoccer is excited to announce and would like to congratulate AFC Ann Arbor’s Joseph Stanley Okumu for receiving the Player of the Year award,” TopDrawerSoccer.com Director of Content Travis Clark said. “Among the many deserving candidates Okumu’s performance this season stood out above the rest.”
In March 2018, Okumu captained the Kenyan U-23 Men’s National Team during their two matches versus Uzbekistan. The 21-year-old spent the 2017 season with Free State Stars in South Africa’s ABSA Premiership. Prior to that, he was a member of his hometown club Chemelil Sugar FC in Kenya.
“I’m very grateful for the support,” Okumu said. “If not for AFC Ann Arbor I couldn’t have made it.”
Okumu is 6’4”, boasts natural athleticism, and has special qualities in both team defending and attacking passages of play. During the 2018 season with AFC Ann Arbor, Okumu was the linchpin to nine clean sheets, the lowest goals against average per game in the league, and was a catalyst to AFC Ann Arbor’s second consecutive Great Lakes Conference championship.
“This is a special honor for Stanley,” AFC Ann Arbor Sporting Director and Head Coach Eric Rudland said. “It validates the impact he made with our club and speaks to the pedigree of his footballing ability. His mentality in training and matches was the epitome of a professional. He was an impact player, respected by his teammates and coaches, and is very deserving of this accolade. As a club we are excited to see him take the next step in his football career.”
Okumu played every minute in a club-record 488 consecutive minutes holding opponents scoreless and played 90 minutes in seven matches that ended as clean sheets. He helped set six team records as AFC Ann Arbor finished first in the Great Lakes Conference with a 9-1-2 record.
He finished a dominant 2018 season with 53 tackles won, 85 headers won, 74 interceptions, 317 passes complete, 29 long balls complete, 16 blocks, and 58 clearances.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Wenner