NISA Honors 2023 Annual Award Recipients

Published Dec 2, 2023

Chattanooga FC Dominates List of Golden Glove, Boot, Ball
and Coach of the Year – Alongside Best XI

CHICAGO (December 2, 2023) –  After an improbable run to the 2023 National independent Soccer Association title by Flower City Union, the league honored annual awards recipients as part of its annual general meeting. As in 2022, Chattanooga FC dominated the list with GK Jean Antoine and F Markus Naglestad repeating as Golden Glove and Golden Boot winners respectively, and five players named to the Best XI. The meeting took place during the national semi-finals and finals of the NISA Nation amateur incubator league.

"Each one of these recipients proved himself on the pitch and with his peers," says Commissioner John Prutch. "The closeness of the races and the surprising outcome of the playoffs are indicators of where this league can be in a couple of years. Congratulations to all of them."

Golden Boot (given to the highest goal scorer) and Golden Glove (given to the most outstanding keeper) honors are statistically based. Naglestad led the league with 15 tallies – the last coming in the season finale – to edge out Michigan Stars FC’s Leon Maric. He netted 19 goals last year. Antoine secured his second straight Golden Glove (he earned the trophy last year when he played for Cal United Strikers FC) by allowing a stingy nine goals this season in 1,899minutes. Along with that, he accumulated 15 clean sheets in 23 NISA matches. He bested a deep field of keepers that included Michigan Stars’ Tatenda Mkuruva, ALBION San Diego’s Ben Roach, and Los Angeles Force’s Hugo Gomez.

As in 2022, the Golden Ball (the league’s Most Valuable players) and Coach of the Year are voted on by league coaches in collaboration with league partner QuestionPro at the conclusion of the regular season. Darwin Espinal of Maryland Bobcats FC earned the Golden Ball after scoring 11 goals and assisting on five others in 22 matches this season. Diego Gomez led ALBION to a 11-8-5 mark in 2023 in his first season at the helm.

The complete list of 2023 winners are:

  • Statistical Awards:
    • 2023 NISA Golden Boot: F Markus Naglestad, Chattanooga FC
    • 2023 NISA Golden Glove: GK Jean Antoine, Chattanooga FC
  • NISA Awards as voted upon by Head Coaches with league partner QuestionPro
    • 2023 NISA Golden Ball: F Darwin Espinal, Maryland Bobcats FC
    • 2023 NISA Coach of the Year:  Diego Gomez, ALBION San Diego
  • NISA Best XI as voted upon by Head Coaches with league partner QuestionPro
    • GK Jean Antoine, Chattanooga FC
    • D Aydan Bowers, Chattanooga FC
    • D Richard Dixon, Chattanooga FC
    • D James Filerman, Maryland Bobcats FC
    • D Anatolie Prepelita, Chattanooga FC
    • M Daniel Bedoya, ALBION San Diego
    • M Tyler Gabarra, ALBION San Diego
    • M Alex McGrath, Chattanooga FC
    • F Darwin Espinal, Maryland Bobcats FC
    • F Leon Maric, Michigan Stars FC
    • F Markus Naglestad, Chattanooga FC