Raheem Sterling was voted player of the year by soccer writers on Monday for his impact on Manchester City’s bid for a domestic treble as well as his influential stance against racism in the game.

Sterling won 62% of the votes cast by more than 400 British-based members of the Football Writers’ Association. Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who was voted player of the year by his fellow players last week, was second.

The forward has scored 29 goals for City and England’s national team this season. He has been a key part of the City team that has won the English League Cup, is in the final of the FA Cup, and is at the top of the Premier League with two games left.

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling runs with the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, April 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling runs with the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, April 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Sterling also has been praised for speaking out against racism in soccer, notably in an Instagram post in December after he was racially abused by a fan in a league match at Chelsea. Sterling said British newspapers are helping to “fuel racism” with their “unacceptable” portrayal of black players.

FWA chairwoman Carrie Brown said Sterling’s award “recognizes the huge impact of Raheem’s courage to challenge preconceptions and fight racism, which will leave a legacy not just for future generations in football but society as a whole. Eyes have been opened, voices found, we are listening.”

Nikita Parris, who also plays for Man City, was voted women’s player of the year by FWA members.

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