Members of Everton Supporters' Clubs across North America are set to choose the first ever ‘Everton North American All Star' this month after launching the new awards to celebrate the Club's historic and present ties with the continent.
The inaugural winner of the player award will be announced at an event in Orlando as part of the activities taking place to mark Everton being in the USA for the 2021 Florida Cup.
The Everton North America All Star Awards will formally recognise the contributions of players, coaches and managers from the continent that have represented Everton and also those who have a connection to the Blues and have played in North America.
Tim Howard, Preki, Brian Quinn and the late Jimmy Gabriel form the four-person shortlist for the inaugural player prize, with the winner to be decided by a fan vote. More on each nominee.
All members of affiliated North American Everton Supporters' Clubs are eligible to vote and will be emailed and asked to make their choice before the voting period ends on Friday 23 July.
The four individuals were nominated by a newly-formed advisory committee made up of key supporters' group figures, members of the Everton Fans' Forum, fan media, historians and also representation from within Everton Football Club itself.
Everton have long boasted strong connections to the US and Canada, with more than 150 individuals making a contribution to the club's history over many decades.
Tony Sampson, International Lead of the Everton Fans' Forum and a member of the Chicago Evertonians, said: “The ties between Everton and North America are well established and in discussing the idea of the awards, we wanted to do something that built on these connections and pay tribute to those who have played an important role in making Everton the number one team for North America.
“The award will now become a permanent fixture for Evertonians across North America every year and we hope that the winners will be proud to be recognised by the loyal and dedicated fanbase out here.”
Richard Kenyon, Director of Marketing, Communications & International at Everton, and the Club's representative on the advisory committee, said: “I'm honoured to be part of such a great initiative.
“We've got a well-established and fast-growing supporter network in North America and these awards will not only rightly recognise the contributions of those connected with Everton, but will also help strengthen and further engage Evertonians across the continent.”
Committee member, Dr David France, OBE, devised the concept of creating a North American Everton Hall of Fame, having previously established the Everton Former Players' Foundation, Everton Heritage Society and Everton Collection.
Dr France, who recently co-authored a new book, ToffeeSoccer, profiling the links between Everton and North America, said: “It is a tremendous initiative to bring together Evertonians from across the continent.
"All knowledgeable North American soccer fans are discovering that Everton is a special club with rich traditions, common values, and good people.
"With unswerving commitment, investment and desire, the USA and Canada offers tremendous opportunities for our beloved club to raise its profile and create its own healthy and distinct niche in the soccer market.
"I look forward to meeting my fellow Evertonians at the event in sunny Florida.”
Michael Setterberg, Chair of the New York Evertonians and committee member, added: “It has been a great honour to work alongside fellow North American Toffees in developing the award and preparing for the inaugural vote.
"This is a brilliant way for local supporters to honour the men and women who helped turn them on to Everton while at the same time learning more about some of the trailblazers that came before our time.
“We are also excited that the Club has partnered with us to provide an additional level of support and exposure to help make sure the award is a success, not just this year but for years to come.”
Tickets for both of Everton's games in the Florida Cup are still available to fans able to travel to Orlando.
Currently no travel is permitted to USA from the UK but for international Evertonians who can access or are already based in the United States tickets are still available and can be purchased here.
For any Evertonians interested in joining a Supporters' Club please click here to search our directory and find the nearest club to you wherever you are in the world.
Blues interested in setting up their own Supporters' Club can find out more information on how by clicking here.
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