Make it a Sounders sweep.
The 30-year-old Argentine won the player vote (20.75-percent), the media vote (35.98) and club vote (28.42). New York Red Bulls forward Luke Rodgers finished a distant second.
“This is an award I share with my teammates because without them we could not be so successful,” Rosales said in a news release. “It’s been a great season and I am honored by this vote of the media, as well as players and executives of other clubs. I would like thank everyone in the Sounders family — my fellow players, the coaches, staff and, of course, the fans.”
According to MLS, the award “honors the player with previous professional experience who makes the biggest impact in his first season in Major League Soccer.” Vancouver forward Eric Hassli was third, followed by Philadelphia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon and Sporting Kansas City’s Omar Bravo.
Rosales quickly emerged as a fan favorite this season, but he was far more than just a nice guy with a smile. The maestro midfielder was one of the top playmakers in the league and arguably the team’s MVP. He set a new franchise record with 13 assists in 2011 and added five goals, including a pair of game winners.
Due in part to his efforts, the Sounders led the league with 56 goals this season and a 1.65 goals-per-game average.
“Mauro was a splendid addition to our team,” coach Sigi Schmid said in the release. “His creativity, enthusiasm and quality added greatly to our team success in 2011. He is a deserving winner of this award.”
Many fans will surely wonder what would’ve happened in the playoffs if Rosales wasn’t injured with a sprained knee, stemming from a tackle by Chivas USA’s Ben Zemanski in the regular-season finale.
Next up is finalizing a new contract, which we expect should be announced soon. Think Rosales might be primed for an MVP run next season?
Previous winners, including teammate Fredy Montero in 2009, listed after the jump…
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MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners:
2011: Mauro Rosales – Seattle Sounders FC
2010: Alvaro Saborio – Real Salt Lake
2009: Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC
2008: Darren Huckerby – San Jose Earthquakes
2007: Luciano Emilio – D.C. United