The Green Bay Packers'

Aaron Rodgers

is the 2011 Male Athlete of the Year, chosen by members of the Associated Press, after he turned in an MVP performance in the Packers' Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in February and then went on to lead his team on a long unbeaten run this season.

Rodgers received 112 votes out of the 212 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations that make up the AP's membership. Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander finished second with 50 votes, followed by tennis standout Novak Djokovic (21), Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton (6), and NASCAR champion Tony Stewart (5).

Rodgers is one of three quarterbacks to receive the honor in the last five years. The New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees won in 2010, and the New England Patriots' Tom Brady won in 2007.

PRO SOCCER: The Union signed Panamanian international Gabriel "Gavilan" Gomez. Joining the club from Mexican Second Division side Indios de Cuidad Juarez, the central midfielder will be eligible to join the Union upon receiving his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. The 27-year-old has been capped 74 times, notching eight goals.

New Nigeria soccer coach Stephen Keshi has banned his players from wearing earrings while in national team camps, saying it's "alien" to Nigerian culture for men to have them.

The former Super Eagles captain took charge of his first training camp with locally based players this week after he replaced Samson Siasia following Nigeria's failure to qualify for next month's African Cup of Nations.

Judging by the French media, David Beckham's arrival in Paris is only a matter of when, not if.

While there has been no official confirmation that Beckham has reached a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for what could be the last leg of his career, the headlines on the front and back pages of Wednesday's newspapers in France made it sound like a sure thing.

OLYMPICS: An Italian sports official who projects Olympic medals results predicts that China will top the overall and gold-medal count ahead of the United States and Russia at the London Games.

Luciano Barra issued his final medal projection based on results at the most recent world championships of Olympic sports.

Barra, a former senior member of the Italian Olympic Committee, has China winning 103 total medals - 43 gold, 31 silver and 29 bronze.

He predicts the United States will finish second with 82 medals - 35 gold, 19 silver and 28 bronze.

COLLEGES: University of the Sciences' Garret Kerr, a graduate of Middle Township (N.J.), was named the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference men's basketball player of the week.

- Staff and wire reports