Rapids Announce Winners of 2007 Player Awards

COMMERCE CITY CO (ColoradoRapids.com) – The Colorado Rapids announced the team’s 2007 yearly Team Award winners at halftime of Saturday night's final regular season game vs. Real Salt Lake.
The Rapids award winners were selected based on players' performances over the course of the entire season as voted on by members of the local Colorado media.
To watch video clips of the Rapids 2007 Player Award winners' acceptance speeches click here!

Colorado Rapids 2007 Team Award Winners:

RAPIDS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD: #14 Omar Cummings
This award goes to the player who has made the biggest impact to the team in his rookie season. Omar Cummings was that player this year for the Rapids. He posted two goals in the regular season placing him tied for fourth on the team. Establishing himself into the first team was no problem this season for the talented first-year player; he appeared in 11 matches logging 182 total minutes. He also recorded two goals and two assists for the defending champion Rapids Reserves this year. His highlight of 2007 was scoring a goal at Chivas USA on Oct. 14 in the 90th minute giving Colorado the victory keeping their playoff hopes alive and earning bragging points for Colorado as the first team to defeat Chivas at home this year.

HEALTHONE RAPIDS RESERVE TEAM MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: #13 Stephen Keel
In its third year this award goes to the most indisposable player on the Rapids Reserve team each season. For the second straight year defender Stephen Keel led the Rapids Reserves to conquer the MLS Reserve Division coordinating the Rapids' defense and leading them all the way to the championship title. He led all players on the Reserve team in minutes played with 900. He also recorded two goals on the season from his defensive position for the Rapids Reserves on their way to bringing home the MLS Reserve Division trophy for back-to-back years.

RAPIDS COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: #26 Conor Casey
This award goes to the Rapids player who has overcome setback or injury to rebound and make himself a better player over the course of the last year. Conor Casey wins this award for rebounding from a knee injury suffered with the US National Team to regain his form and regain his starting spot with the Rapids. Casey is a typical target forward and can distribute and create for his teammates as well as he can put the ball in the net qualities that helped him come back to lead the Rapids to a great final third of the season.

RAPIDS MOST IMPROVED PLAYER: #23 Colin Clark
This award goes to the Rapids player who has shown the most marked improvement over the course of the season. Clark who joined the Rapids in February of 2006 had a breakout year for the Rapids this season. He stepped up and cemented his place in the first team starting lineup as he made 16 starts and appeared in 16 games for the Rapids logging two goals two assists and 1321 minutes. The local Colorado product wins his first player award with this trophy having quickly become a fan favorite this year for his hustle on the field and his ability to spectactularly disassemble opposing teams’ defenses.

RAPIDS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD: #1 Bouna Coundoul
This award goes to the Rapids player who shows the most steadfast defensive skills over the course of the year. Since joining the team in 2005 Coundoul has developed from a rookie into one of the most feared starting keepers in the league. The Senegalese native stepped up to fill the void left after the departure of goalkeeper Joe Cannon and became this year the anchor of the Rapids' defense. Coundoul posted 30 starts in 30 games played recorded a GAA of 1.08 made 120 saves and logged more minutes played (with 2668) than any other defensive player for the Rapids this season.

BUDWEISER RAPIDS GOLDEN BOOT AWARD: #7 Jovan Kirovski
The Budweiser Rapids Golden Boot Award goes to the player who over the course of the regular season scored the most goals for the Colorado Rapids. This year Jovan Kirovski wins the award for tallying the most on the team this year with six goals scored. Kirovksi who has been with the club since Sept. of 2005 received this his first player award for the club performing the feat behind 2161 minutes played and 28 games started in 28 games played. Kirovski also tallied one assist on the year.

RAPIDS NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR AWARD: #3 Facundo Erpen
This award is presented to the Rapids player who has had prior professional experience but has made the biggest impact to the team in his first year with the club. Erpen joined the Rapids on June 29 this year from DC United and never looked back. A versatile player Erpen has been forced into service all across the backline this year and even filled in in the defensive midfielder position when called upon this year. He has helped solidify the Rapids’ defense which gave up just 32 goals this year good for fourth-best in MLS. He also recorded 5 shots and 1 goal on the season from his defensive position.
U.S. SOCCER FDN. RAPIDS HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR: #1 Bouna Coundoul
The US Soccer Foundation Rapids Humanitarian of the Year Award goes each year to the Rapids player that is the most active in charitable causes. This year Coundoul helped kids improve their soccer skills and knowledge all year by working with kids ages 3-17 at various Rapids camps at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Coundoul also worked with "Nets Without Borders