MIAMI, Fla. -- The North American Soccer League has selected its 2012 Best XI Team and rookie striker Mark Anderson was one of two Fort Lauderdale Strikers to earn the honor. Midfielder Walter Restrepo was one of three unanimous selections and joins Anderson on the squad selected by NASL coaches.
“This award is well deserved for both Walter and Mark,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “Prior to Walter’s injury he was probably the most dynamic player in our league with the ball going forward, and losing him was a big blow to our team and I am happy the other coaches in the league saw how valuable Walter was to our team and our league.”
Restrepo, 24, played a key role in the Strikers attack throughout the season collecting seven goals and nine assists in all competitions, with his eight assists in the regular season tied for first in the NASL. Restrepo’s season was cut short when he suffered a knee injury during training forcing him to miss the final seven games of 2012. The player who had been the recipient of the majority of his assists was Mark Anderson.
“Mark was probably the most affected by the loss of Walter,” said Shore. “However he had a great rookie season and is also well deserving of being on the Best XI. His knack for goal was special and I think he scored some of the most exciting goals in the league this year.”
Anderson, 23, scored his first goal for the Strikers on May 2nd against Carolina. Anderson scored his first career goal on May 2nd against the Carolina RailHawks. Throughout the season Anderson earned Offensive Player of the Week on two different occasions after a pair of multi-goal games for the Strikers. With 11 goals, the native of Durham, England finished third in the NASL. Anderson also collected a pair of goals in two US Open Cup matches.
“It means a lot to get this award. To receive recognition from the whole league and be put ahead of some exceptional players is a great honor,” said Anderson. “It’s not just an award for me, but for the players and staff that work with me day in and day out and gave me every opportunity to excel on the field. Thank you.”
For a player that accomplished every accolade possible (athletic and academic) at the collegiate level, Anderson continues to raise the bar and exceed all expectations.
Anderson was named the 2011 Daktronics DII National Soccer Player of the Year and 2011 Capital One Academic All-America of the Year for DII men's soccer wrapping up an illustrious four-year career with the Buccaneers.
2012 Best XI
Walter Restrepo, Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Mark Anderson, Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Pablo Campos, San Antonio Scorpions
Luke Mulholland, Tampa Bay Rowdies
Walter Ramirez, San Antonio Scorpions
Nick Zimmerman, Carolina RailHawks
Kyle Altman, Minnesota Stars FC
Ryan Cochrane, San Antonio Scorpions
Paul Hamilton, FC Edmonton
Takuya Yamada, Tampa Bay Rowdies
Jeff Attinella, Tampa Bay Rowdies