Mile Jedinak gets some much deserved love, scoops Aussie POY honors

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Not a lot of good things have happened to Crystal Palace this season so with the announcement that the Football Federation Australia has named Mile Jedinak their Player of the Year, let’s take a moment to recognize one of the Eagle’s bright spots.

In large part Jedinak won the award for his efforts in captaining Crystal Palace to what many deemed to be a shock promotion to the Premier League last spring.

After finishing fifth in the Championship by virtue of a final week victory, Palace saw off Brighton & Hove Albion in the play-off semi-finals and Watford in the play-off final to gain promotion to the England’s top-flight for the first time in eight years.

“It was a massive year, it was very successful and one I’m not going to forget in a hurry,” Jedinak said upon receiving the honor.

Life in the Premier League has proven difficult for Palace so far, beating only Sunderland and drawing with Everton for a total of four points in 11 matches. But parity among the league means the Eagles are down, not out, and if Palace are to pull off the incredible it will be at the hands of their burly captain.

Jedinak is a grinder. With an unstoppable engine and a penchant for tough tackling, he can be a nightmare for opposing teams. Planted alongside the similarly broad-shouldered Kagisho Dikgacoi, the pair have proven very difficult to unlock.

Jedinak’s story is one of a late bloomer. He spent five years as a semi-professional at Sydney United before receiving the call to play in Australia’s top league with Central Coast Mariners. After three productive seasons, Jedinak decided to take his game abroad and signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Turkish club Genclerbirligi.

At 27-years-old Jedinak then moved to Palace, became a fan favorite in his first season, was handed the captain’s armband in his second season and is now raising eye-brows with his rugged performances in the Premier League.

With his POY award in tote, Jedinak remains a player to watch as Palace seek to fight off relegation. Even if the Eagles go down, don’t be surprised if the Aussie is scooped up by a Premier League mainstay this summer.

Soccer world reacts to the Manchester attacks

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NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.

Juventus purchases Cuadrado from Chelsea

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If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.

The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.

Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.

Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.

Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.

Report: Jermain Defoe meeting with Bournemouth

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Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.

Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.

[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]

The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.

Chelsea’s Conte wins pair of top managerial honors

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Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.

The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.

The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.

In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.