Cedar Stars Academy attacking midfielder Christopher Katona during a coin toss against NY Pancyprian Freedoms. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
Nov. 22nd, 2017
Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Christopher Katona was selected player of the week for the third consecutive round in Week 9 for netting six goals in a 6-0 win over Manhattan Kickers.
Katona won the accolade for the past two weeks for tallying two goals and two assists in Week 8 against Zum Schneider and three goals and three assists against Doxa SC the prior round.
“Without my teammates I wouldn’t be winning these players of the week awards,” the 27-year-old said. “It’s good to know that I’m contributing and making it count when I go forward in scoring or assisting my teammates. We have such a talented squad, they make it so easy and enjoyable being on the field together.”
Scoring 13 goals and racking 10 assists in three games alongside three straight player of the weeks was far from Katona’s expectation before entering his first season in the CSL.
“Coming into the CSL season, I was excited to be a part of a club and great teammates,” he said, “but with the transition from forward to midfield I didn’t know what to expect. Certainly not scoring 13 goals and 10 assists heading into almost the midway mark.”
The three-time best player of the week wasn’t even planning to join the CSL during the offseason.
“I have to be honest, I was thinking of calling it quits coming into this year,” Katona admitted. “I have to give credit to Mike, Brad, Scot [Kindzierski], Oliver [Papraniku], Bujar [Gjata], Sacir [Hot] and Dan [Karosen] for getting me to continue playing in the NPSL and now the CSL.”
The American’s top three goals in his six-goal display were a strike from inside the 18 after beating the opposing keeper, a 20-yard shot and a header from the six-yard box after a run from midfield.
Cedar Stars assistant coach Bujar Gjata praised Katona’s work ethic after the game.
“He works so hard,” Gjata said. “He doesn’t care what the score is, he keeps working for 90 minutes.”
Samuel Gehman assisted five of Katona’s goals. Gehman's six goal-passes in a game are the season’s best alongside the New Jersey native’s six goals in a game.
Katona complimented Gehman on his vision and touched on their relationship off the field when asked about his chemistry with the midfielder.
“Sammy is the man,” he said. “Such a great guy. I consider him one of the closest to me on the team. He’s a dedicated, hardworking, skillful player who possesses great vision where he’s able to get the ball where it needs to be to put me in a good situation to score. Players like him make the chemistry extremely easy.”
Katona is proud of his three player of the week accolades and has his eyes set on the grand collective award at the end of the season.
“The trifecta consecutive awards have been truly great,” the Cedar Stars captain said.
He later added: “The ultimate goal is to win the CSL. That’ll be the best recognition to date then, to share it with all the guys who deserve it.”
Ovan Oakley (Lansdowne Bhoys): 3 goals vs Manhattan Kickers in a 6-1 win on Nov. 7th
Kyle Green (Zum Schneider F.C): 2 goals vs Doxa SC in a 2-2 draw
Tyler Botte (NY Greek Americans): 2 goals vs Central Park Rangers in a 6-0 win
Daniel Bedoya (NY Pancyprian Freedoms): game-winning goal vs NY Athletic Club in a 1-0 win
Past player of the week winners
Cedar Stars Academy attacking midfielder Christopher Katona-- 2 goals, 2 assists vs Zum Schneider F.C