The honor went to Chad Marshall of Columbus for the second year in a row. Seattle’s Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was a finalist. Also, Alex Prus was named Referee of the Year in MLS.
My take: Wrong choice. The guy is very good, but didn’t play all season like Hurtado did and Sounders FC’s defense gave up fewer goals. Even Geoff Cameron, the other finalist, would have been a better choice. You have to reward the team with the stingiest defense. And “child please,” as Chad Ochocinco would say, it’s wrong to vote for a defender based on the number of goals he scored. The award is about defense. Oh well.
Here’s the official announcement:
NEW YORK (Thursday, Nov 5, 2009) – Major League Soccer announced today that Columbus Crew defender Chad Marshall was voted the Visa Defender of the Year for the second consecutive season, and referees Alex Prus and Greg Barkey were voted as the adidas Referee of the Year and adidas Assistant Referee of the Year.
Marshall, the 2008 Defender of the Year and 2009 MLS All-Star, anchored a Columbus defense that allowed only 31 goals during the regular season – a record low for the Crew. Marshall played in and started 18 games during the regular season; he missed four games while serving National Team duty with the U.S. and another six games with a knee sprain at the end of the season.
Marshall’s leadership helped the Crew capture their second straight Supporters’ Shield trophy, awarded to the team that finishes with the best regular season record (13-7-10, 49 points). The Crew’s defense allowed the third fewest goals (31) behind the Houston Dynamo (29) and Seattle Sounders FC (29).
Marshall won MLS Player of the Month honors for August after leading the Crew to a 4-1-0 record during the month, which included four shutouts. The 6-foot, 4-inch, 190-pound defender proved again that he’s not only an imposing force on defense, but also poses a scoring threat whenever he gets forward. Marshall finished third on the team with four goals scored, including game-winning goals versus New York (June 27), Colorado (Aug. 1) and FC Dallas (Aug. 15).
Now in his sixth MLS season, the 25-year-old Riverside, Calif., native was the second overall pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by the Columbus Crew. Marshall joins Carlos Bocanegra and Robin Fraser as the only two-time Defender of the Year award winners. Marshall led the voting ahead of Seattle Sounders FC defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Houston Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron, the other finalists for the award.
Prus receives the adidas Referee of the Year award for the first time in his career. A veteran center referee of MLS games, Prus has worked 169 games in 13 seasons. Prus first served as an assistant referee in MLS in 1997. He has worked five Men’s Division I NCAA Final Four soccer tournaments and was the head referee for MLS Cup 2007 in Washington, D.C.
Barkey has been honored with the adidas Assistant Referee of the Year award. Barkey was one of three assistant referees to represent the United States in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. In 14 seasons with Major League Soccer, Barkey has worked 201 regular season games and 28 playoff games.
The Visa Defender of the Year earned the most votes in polling of MLS players, general managers, coaches, and members of the media. The adidas Referee of the Year and adidas Assistant Referee of the Year were earned the most votes in polling of MLS players, general managers, coaches, referees and members of the media.
MLS Defender of the Year Winners:
2009: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
2008: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
2007: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
2006: Bobby Boswell – D.C. United
2005: Jimmy Conrad – Kansas City Wizards
2004: Robin Fraser – Columbus Crew
2003: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
2002: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
2001: Jeff Agoos – San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Peter Vermes – Kansas City Wizards
1999: Robin Fraser – Los Angeles Galaxy
1998: Lubos Kubik – Chicago Fire
1997: Eddie Pope – D.C. United
1996: John Doyle – San Jose Earthquakes
adidas Referee of the Year Winners:
2009: Alex Prus
2008: Jair Marrufo
2007: Brian Hall
2006: Brian Hall
2005: Brian Hall
2004: Abiodun ‘Abbey’ Okulaja
2003: Brian Hall
2002: Kevin Terry
2001: Paul Tamberino
2000: Paul Tamberino
1999: Paul Tamberino
1998: Paul Tamberino
1997: Esse Baharmast
adidas Assistant Referee of the Year Winners:
2009: Greg Barkey
2008: Kermit Quisenberry