New York Cosmos


New York Cosmos midfielder Juan Arango has been awarded the 2016 North American Soccer League's (NASL) Golden Ball, which goes to the league's most valuable player. Arango, 36, who received the most votes from media and fans, scored 15 goals (five from free kicks) and added seven assists for the defending NASL Champions.

The play and the leadership of the veteran midfielder from Venezuela helped New York finish first in both the Fall Season and Combined Standings as the Cosmos nailed down the No. 1 seed in The Championship.

New York defeated Rayo OKC, 2-1, on Nov. 5 to advance to The Championship Final with Arango scoring a goal and adding an assist on the game-winner.

"I am very honored," Arango said. "I am very surprised, too, because there has been several outstanding players in the NASL this season, but I must say it's very rewarding."

Arango, a native of Maracay, Venezuela, was named Player of the Month for October as well as being a member of the Team of the Week 10 times this year (three times in the Spring Season).

He was also the Player of the Week twice. Arango struck for two goals in four games – in the Spring Season opener against Ottawa Fury FC on April 3 in his Cosmos debut; against Carolina on Aug. 27; against Indy Eleven on Aug. 31; and on a pair of free kicks against Jacksonville on Oct. 15.

He had multiple assists in a couple of games – two against Tampa Bay on May 22; and two against Miami FC on Oct. 22. A veteran of the Mexican league (Monterrey, Pachuca, Puebla and Tijuana), Spain's La Liga (Mallorca), and Germany's Bundesliga (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Arango is also Venezuela's career leader in both goals scored and appearances.

He has scored 23 goals for La Vinotinto in 128 appearances. He joins a long list of Cosmos midfield maestros, a group that extends back to the NASL Legendary Era.

In his first year with the Cosmos, Arango ably stepped into the void left by the retirement of the Spanish veteran Marcos Senna, who helped New York win two NASL titles, in 2013 and in 2015.

"This achievement sure does boost our team's confidence as we look to retain the championship and reward our fans for their unconditional support," Arango added.

Previous Winners:

2011: Etienne Barbara (Carolina RailHawks, 20 goals, eight assists)

2012: Pablo Campos (San Antonio Scorpions, 21 goals, five assists)

2013: Georgi Hristov (Tampa Bay Rowdies, 12 goals, eight assists)

2014: Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United, 8 goals, five assists)

2015: Stefano Pinho (Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 16 goals, seven assists)

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