Joe Cannon and Chris Henderson Take Home MLS Year-End Awards

DENVER CO (11-12-04) – Major League Soccer announced today that Rapids goalkeeper Joe Cannon who yesterday was defeated by the MetroStars' Amado Guevara for League MVP was named the 2004 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and also that Rapids midfielder Chris Henderson won the US Soccer Foundation's 2004 MLS Humanitarian of the Year award.

This is the second time in his six-year MLS career that Cannon has been named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and the first time that a Rapids player has ever won the award. Cannon defeated Columbus keeper Jon Busch and Kevin Hartman of the Los Angeles Galaxy to earn the Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Also honored on the day was midfielder Chris Henderson who took home the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s MLS Humanitarian of the Year award given out to the MLS player who makes the most positive contributions to his local community over the course of the season. Henderson was selected as this year's winner as a result of his extensive charitable work with the Rapids and his own new charitable non-profit The Chris Henderson Foundation in 2004.

By winning Goalkeeper of the Year and the Humanitarian of the Year Awards respectively Cannon and Henderson became just the third and fourth Rapids players ever to win an individual end-of-year award joining current Rapids Community Ambassador Marcelo Balboa and midfielder Mark Chung.

In 2000 Balboa’s acrobatic bicycle kick goal in the 55th minute of the Rapids' 3-2 win over the Columbus Crew was named the Pepsi MLS Goal of the Year while Chung took home the MLS Fair Play Award given to the league's best sportsman two years later in 2002.

The 2004 season was Cannon’s first full season with the Rapids and he made an immediate impact by starting all 30 of the team’s regular season matches (a first for a Rapids goalkeeper) as well as both playoff games and setting a number of league team and personal records. Cannon was the only keeper in MLS to appear in all of his team’s regular season matches and he led the league with 150 saves and 10 shutouts. His 1.07 goals-against-average was good for third in MLS and set a new Rapids record as well as being the lowest of his six-year MLS career. His prowess between the pipes was most evident at INVESCO Field at Mile High where he allowed just eight goals in 15 regular season games setting a new MLS record with a home 0.53 GAA. In those 15 games Cannon never allowed more than a single goal in a game and recorded seven clean sheets.

Joining Cannon as a year-end award winner is Henderson who is the 2004 U.S. Soccer Foundation’s MLS Humanitarian of the Year. He became the Rapids' all-time leader in games played and points this season and was nominated for this honor because of his years of extensive work in the community both on behalf of the team or through his own goodwill. Coupled 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. Most notably he championed his goal of launching the Chris Henderson Foundation a charitable non-profit organization that gives cash grants to aid underprivileged kids around Colorado and well as continued to sponsor the "Henderson's Heroes" section at the stadium 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’ Official Spokes-Player for the following causes: Car Seat Safety the Special Olympics the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Pro Active Pro Athletes Against Domestic Violence.

Henderson previously had been named the Colorado Rapids' Humanitarian of the Year in 2003. He also won the Miami Fusion’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2001 his final season before returning to Colorado in just the second year that the award was given out both by MLS and by the individual teams. However this is the first time that he has won the award on a league-wide level.

While both Cannon and Henderson were victorious in winning their respective awards defender Ritchie Kotschau was not so lucky as Eddie Pope was given the Kraft MLS Fair Play Award nudging out Kotscahu and fellow finalist Justin Mapp of the Chicago Fire.

Kotschau appeared in 28 of the Rapids’ 30 games this season playing 2351 minutes as both a left back and a center back. In that time Kotschau was whistled for just 30 fouls and was not shown a single yellow card. No player in the entire league played more minutes than Kotschau without being booked and he was one of just three players in MLS this season to play more than 2000 minutes and not be issued a single caution with Kansas City forward Josh Wolff and Los Angeles midfielder Sasha Victorine joining him in that category.

Voting for all MLS awards is divided into three groups with each group holding 33.3 percent of the vote. The three voting groups are players coaches and general managers and the media.

To view the complete list of all the MLS Year End Awards click here