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Stewart returns to NAC Breda to become technical director.

Berhalter, Cottbus clinch promotion with 3-1 win over München.

Everton gains Howard, making loan deal with Manchester United.

DeMerit stands out; Watford advances to promotion final.

Gibbs signs with Charlton; Lewis, Leeds United advance in promotion quest.

Lewis free kick gives Leeds 1-1 draw with North End in playoff opener.

Friedel, Rovers are heading to Europe after 1-0 decision over Chelsea.

Hahnemann, Convey help Reading close season with record.

Berhalter penalty kick moves Cottbus to brink of promotion.

Hahnemann, Convey are back in action as Reading nears record.

Beasley fined $1,852 by Dutch judge for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Spector will have surgery to repair dislocated shoulder.

Americans Abroad

McBride voted Fulham's best player; Convey, Hahnemann rated best at their positions.

Brian McBride
Brian McBride was voted Fulham's best player of the 2005-06 season by the Cottagers' fans.
Fulham FC web site photo --
By Gary Davidson (in Washington, D.C.)

(Tuesday, May 16, 2006) -- United States striker Brian McBride was named Fulham's "Player of the Season," the result of voting on the English Premier League club's web site.

Fulham did not release the vote total, but the club said McBride barely edged midfielder Steed Malbranque in the balloting.

In a separate development, U.S. midfielder Bobby Convey was rated the second most effective player and goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann the sixth best in the second-tier English League Championship by the Actim Index. Convey, who had seven goals and 10 assists while starting 45 league matches, and Hahnemann were both rated the top players at their positions.

Reading, which won the League Championship with a record points total and was promoted to the Premier League, had the top four players ranked by Actim and six of the top eight.

U.S. midfielder Eddie Lewis, who had four goals and 10 assists in helping Leeds United advance to one-match final May 21 against Watford (employer of American defender Jay DeMerit) for promotion to the Premier League, was ranked No. 16 overall. American defender Frank Simek of Sheffield Wednesday was rated No. 72 in the 24-team league.

McBride, Convey, Hahnemann and Lewis are all with the 23-man U.S. World Cup team, training in Cary, N.C., through May 21.

Goalkeeper Boaz Myhill (aka Glyn Oliver Myhill), who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and England, was ranked 60th overall. He was born in California to an American father and English mother, the couple having met at college.

McBride finished second on Fulham with 10 goals, playing in all 38 Premier League matches, starting 35. He also had one other goal while playing five times in outside competition, starting once.

Forward Collins John had 11 goals in 35 league appearances, 19 of them coming off the Cottagers' bench. He also had one goal in the FA Cup, appearing three times outside of EPL play

Fulham was ninth in the Premier League with 48 goals in 2005-06 after finding net 52 times in each of the last two seasons. Ten of its goals this season came on headers, a total exceeded only by Bolton Wanderers and Manchester United. McBride and strike partner Heidar Helguson both were aerial threats and each scored three times off headers.

McBride was in a six-way tie for 14th place in Premiership goal scoring.

McBride had 23 headed shots, fourth highest in the Premiership. He flicked passes with his head on 314 occasions, third best in the EPL.

In the Actim Index, presented by the English Football Association, McBride was rated the 62nd most effective player in the Premiership. McBride was third in the ratings on his team with Malbranque ranked 38th and Luis Boa Morte at No. 43.

American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who was a key contributor to Blackburn Rovers' sixth-place finish and berth in the next UEFA Cup competition, was rated as the fifth-best goalkeeper and 30th overall.

Edwin van der Saar of the Netherlands was rated the best goalkeeper and the 10th most effective player overall. He was acquired by Manchester United before the recently completed season, thus rendering U.S. World Cup reserve Tim Howard to the bench, playing only six times in all 2005-05 competitions.

With van der Saar in the fold, United loaned Howard to Everton of the EPL for the entire 2006-07 campaign.

The Actim Stats are derived from a complex formula derived from all the actions that take place during a match, including goals, shots on target, corner kicks, fouls, offsides, passes, tackles, blocks and clearances.

The Actim Stats are produced by PA Sports, part of The Press Association of England.

In a separate development, Fulham put Malbranque on the transfer list after he rejected a new contract offer from Fulham.

Gary Davidson is SoccerTimes publisher and managing editor.

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