Plata wins 2011 George Gross Memorial Award

Toronto FC's Joao Plata has won the George Gross Memorial Trophy after being selected most valuable player of the 2011 Nutrilite Canadian Championship. Plata won the award after leading Toronto FC to the 2011 Voyageurs Cup, helping Toronto FC clinch a spot in 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League.

Plata scored an important goal in the second leg of the championship final, converting a penalty kick in the 51st minute to even the series on aggregate. He then assisted on the championship winner just 10 minutes later, feeding Mikael Yourassowsky for an easy tap in.

The 19-year old Plata started all four matches of the Nutrilite Canadian Championshp. Toronto FC was unbeaten in four matches this season, winning both semi-final matches against FC Edmonton before picking up a win and a draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

The George Gross Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the Nutrilite Canadian Championship's most valuable player. In the inaugural year, Impact goalkeeper Matt Jordan won the prize as Montréal won the 2008 championship. In each of the last two years, it was Dwayne De Rosario winning MVP honours for Toronto FC.

Mr. George Gross had a prestigious career as a sports writer in Toronto, writing for the Toronto Telegram, the Soccer and Sport News (as publisher) and Toronto Sun (as founding sports editor). He served as one of the founders of the Eastern Professional Soccer League and also general manager of Toronto City Soccer Club in the early 1960s. In recognition of his years of service to sport, he was inducted to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and to The Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006. He passed away on 21 March 2008 at age 85.

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