Chris Henderson and Ritchie Kotschau Named Finalists For Two Different MLS Awards

DENVER CO (11-8-04) – The Colorado Rapids and Major League Soccer today announced that midfielder Chris Henderson and defender Ritchie Kotschau have been named as finalists for a pair of MLS year end awards.

Henderson is up for the U.S. Soccer Foundation MLS Humanitarian of the Year Award while Kotschau is a finalist for the 2004 MLS Fair Play Award. The winner of each award will be unveiled on Friday night as part of the celebrations surrounding MLS Cup weekend.

Henderson who recently completed his ninth MLS season and sixth with the Rapids became Colorado’s all-time leader in points and games played during the 2004 season eclipsing Paul Bravo and Marcelo Balboa on each list respectively. He joins FC Dallas defender Steve Jolley the 2002 recipient of the Humanitarian of the Year Award and midfielder Jesse March of the Chicago Fire as the three finalists for this award which was first handed out following the 2000 season.

Henderson who has twice been named his team’s Humanitarian of the Year (in 2001 with the Miami Fusion and in 2003 with the Rapids) will be looking to win the league-wide honor for the first time in his distinguished career. He is a finalist for this award because even with his long standing tradition of high performance both on and off the field Henderson managed to raise the bar for community outreach in Colorado this past season.

This year Henderson championed his goal of launching the Chris Henderson Foundation a charitable organization that gives cash grants to aid underprivileged kids around the state. The nine-year veteran also continues to sponsor the "Henderson's Heroes" section at INVESCO Field at Mile High bringing needy kids to every Rapids home game. At the beginning of the year Henderson was named the Sports Profiles Colorado Rapids Humanitarian of the Year for his endless efforts within the local community. One of the most giving members of the team Henderson is active in a number of charitable endeavors during and after every season serving as the Rapids’ spokesperson for Rapids Car Seat Safety the Special Olympics the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Pro Active Pro Athletes against Domestic Violence.

Also looking to win his first league-wide honor with the MLS Fair Play Award is Kotschau who is joined by fellow finalists Justin Mapp of the Chicago Fire and MetroStars defender Eddie Pope who was also a finalist for this award last season. Kotschau was one of the stars of the Rapids backline which gave up just 32 goals in 30 regular season games setting a new club record for fewest goals allowed in a season.

Because of injuries to other defenders Kotschau who played 2351 minutes in 28 games for the Rapids this season was forced to move into central defense from his preferred position of left back. However he did not miss a beat as he paired with Nat Borchers to form one of the best and most ferocious center back pairings in MLS.

But despite his physical tough tackling style Kotschau was whistled for just 30 fouls and was not shown a single yellow card during the 2004 regular season. For his career Kotschau has just 17 cautions in 170 regular season games and has averaged just over a foul per game in that time with 194 career fouls committed in the regular season.