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SFU midfielder Mark Talisuna wins 2022 GNAC men's soccer player of the year

"Mark's role is to get us going in the way we want to play, and he is excellent at that."
SFU midfielder Mark Talisuna has been named the 2022 GNAC men's soccer Player of the Year.

Mark Talisuna has been recognized with conference honours. 

The SFU Red Leafs midfielder has been named the 2022 Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's soccer player of the year after an impressive campaign. 

The junior from Uganda started all 17 matches for the Red Leafs this year, logging 1,519 minutes on the pitch.

He finished with three goals on the year — all from the penalty spot — netting each opportunity SFU was given. 

Talisuna becomes the eighth SFU player to win the conference's top player award since the Burnaby post-secondary school's program joined GNAC in 2010. 

"Mark's role is to get us going in the way we want to play, and he is excellent at that," Red Leafs head coach Clint Schneider said in a release. 

"He can be so dominant in games because of the way he plays, and how he moves. When he is in a role where we need him to defend, he is excellent in that as well.

"Mark just makes things go because he's always an outlet to play, and he's so good that you can put him in tight spots. If he has people around him, he can get himself out of tight spots. This is why I think he'll be a pro and have a decent career at it. What he does and what he can do, he can do at a really high level. I'm really excited about what those next steps are going to be for him, and I can't wait to see where he ends up."

In addition to the top player honour, Talisuna was also named to the 2022 GNAC men's soccer all-conference team. 

He's also joined by Devin O'Hea who finished second in team scoring for Simon Fraser, scoring six goals and adding two assists for eight points. 

"This is the first year Devin has been healthy to just do athletics, period," Schneider added. 

"He's been dealing with a back issue he picked up playing American football a couple of years ago. I think we're only seeing just the start of what Devin is going to be, and we're going to reap the rewards of that. He still has another year of eligibility. Him being honoured with a place on the first team is excellent. I'm excited about what Devin is going to look like when he's healthy, and he's got a couple years of football under his belt."

SFU goalkeeper Justyn Sandhu and defenders Niko Papakyriakopoulos and Nicolai Placzek were selected for the second team. 

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