CINCINNATI -- FC Cincinnati midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma was voted the United Soccer League's Most Valuable Player, the league announced Wednesday.
Ledesma, who is from Argentina, set a USL single-season record for assists with 16 and scored 16 goals.
"I would not be in this position without my teammates, and this award is really about them, too," Ledesma said. "They were excellent all season and the reason we were so successful on the field. I’m so, so happy that this recognizes the hard work everyone did this year. I want to say 'thank you very much' to every single person who works at the club and obviously the fans, too, who have made FC Cincinnati such a special place to play."
The team said Ledesma "was instrumental" in its 23-match regular-season unbeaten streak. He scored 12 goals and made nine assists in that time.
Team president Jeff Berding said Ledesma "has been a sheer joy to watch."
"We knew we were bringing in a special player, but it has been great to see how quickly he settled into Cincinnati and how fast our community and fans embraced him. To have the year he did – the record-setting assists and the number of goals, not to mention the importance of many of his goals and assists to secure games for us – he truly had a season for the ages," Berding said.
He's the third member of the team to be picked for one of the league's awards for the 2018 season. Head coach Alan Koch was voted "coach of the year" and center back Forrest Lasso was voted "defender of the year."