Rapids Unveil 2009 Player Award Winners

COMMERCE CITY Colo. (ColoradoRapids.com) - The Colorado Rapids have revealed the winners of the club's annual player awards.
Each year Colorado Rapids players are selected as award winners in several different categories based on their individual performances over the course of the season as voted on by members of the local Colorado media.
Included as well on the list this year are 2 player award winners selected exclusively by the members of the Colorado Rapids' supporters groups.
(The Colorado Rapids have posted exclusive videos of the player award winners' acceptance speeches on the club's Facebook page. View them online by clicking here! Not a friend of the Rapids on Facebook yet? Sign up today to become a fan of the club and view this and other exclusive content!)
The 2009 Colorado Rapids Player Award winners are:
RAPIDS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:Goalkeeper #18 Matt Pickens
This award goes to the Rapids player who has shown the most steadfast and gritty defensive skills over the course of the year. In his first season with the Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens reclaims the team’s Defensive Player of the Year honors for a goalkeeper for the first time since 2007. Pickens started 19 games this season and posted a record of 9-6-4 with 39 saves. Despite missing a portion of the season due to injury his commanding presence between the posts helped anchor a Colorado defense that allowed opponents just 290 shots all season good for 2nd best in MLS. Pickens was also nominated three times during the season for MLS Save of the Week due to some jaw-dropping acrobatic stops. Following his solid debut season with the Rapids he finds himself ranked in the top 10 in the club's record books in the following categories: starts in goal minutes in goal goalkeeper wins and shutouts.

U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION RAPIDS HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR: Midfielder #23 Colin Clark
This award is given to the Rapids player who has most volunteered his time and efforts off the pitch and who has led the way amongst his teammates in giving back to our local community. This year Rapids midfielder Colin Clark led the way in community activities for the club. Fans noticed that Clark started 2009 with an aerodynamic look; that’s because he shaved his head for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to raise money to fight children’s cancer. He then took his efforts a step further by signing up to become a donor at the Rapids' bone marrow drive with Bonfils. Some highlights of Clark's community involvement this year included making numerous hospital visits participating in grassroots outreach programs with the US Soccer Foundation Passback Tour and Denver SCORES and making school visits stressing the importance of health nutrition teamwork and education through the Rapids Recess program. Clark a native of Colorado has truly shone this year by spreading goodwill and instilling positive values especially to kids here in his home state.
BUDWEISER RAPIDS GOLDEN BOOT AWARD: #9 Conor Casey
The Budweiser Rapids Golden Boot Award goes to the player who over the course of the regular season has scored the most goals for the Colorado Rapids. Conor Casey displayed a deadly talent for finishing en route to earning this honor for a second consecutive year. This also marks the third straight year that Casey has earned a Rapids player award combined with his 2007 Comeback Player of the Year trophy. His goal-scoring prowess for Colorado led him to garner MLS Best XI honors for the first time in his three-year career following a stellar 2009 campaign which saw him finish second in the Budweiser MLS Golden Boot race with a new Rapids single season record 16 goals. In 24 games this season he played 2087 minutes and added one assist while also capturing MLS Player of the Week honors three times on the year and the MLS Player of the Month Award for May. He also set a new record for hat tricks for the club becoming the first Rapids player to record more than one (he accomplished the feat twice this year bringing him to 3 all-time). In July Casey was also named to his first career MLS All-Star First XI. He also showcased his scoring touch on the world stage netting his first two international goals in the USA's 2010 World Cup qualifying win against Honduras on October 10 that clinched a trip to South Africa for the Americans.
RAPIDS ACADEMY PLAYER OF THE YEAR:Brendan Roslund
In its second year this award is presented to the player in the Rapids Academy who most embodied success on the field and represented the overall ideals and values of the Rapids' youth development system. Brendan Roslund has been selected as this year's recipient. Brendan was an original member of the Rapids when the Academy was formed in 2007. He played as a goalkeeper on both the club's U16 and U18 Development Academy teams. Brendan was identified by US National Team scouts in last December’s Academy Showcase and was invited to participate in the US U18 camp in January of 2009. Brendan got his first opportunity with the pros in 2008 and trained with the Rapids first team on many occasions in the spring and summer of 2009. Following his May graduation from Denver Christian High School Brendan enrolled in the University of San Francisco where he has earned the starting goalkeeping job for the storied program. During the 2009 season Roslund earned 3 shutouts in his 11 starts and claimed victories against likely NCAA tournament selections New Mexico and Portland.
RAPIDS YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Midfielder #22 Nick LaBrocca
This award is presented to the most indispensable player on the first team roster under the age of 25. Nick LaBrocca becomes the inaugural winner of this award after showing no signs of a letdown following his breakout season last year that earned him the Rapids 2008 Most Improved Player honors. LaBrocca appeared in 29 games this year with 28 starts playing a new career-high 2434 minutes. He also scored a single season career-high tying 2 goals with strikes against Real Salt Lake on May 2 and vs. New York on July 25. Nick’s value to the club comes in his versatility as he started in all four midfield positions at some point on the year and even filled in at left back. Due to his fierce determination and consistent reliability on the field this year he has cemented his starting place in the center of the park for the club.

RAPIDS MOST VALUABLE PLAYER:Forward #14 Omar Cummings
The Rapids Most Valuable Player Award goes to the player who has led the team by example who has most represented the club with pride and who has been most indispensable to the Rapids over the course of the season. Omar Cummings was a shining example of all these qualities this season. His 2009 performance placed his name atop the elite offensive players in MLS. Cummings started 28 games played 2474 minutes and had a team high and new single season career-high 12 assists on the season. Omar also scored a new single season career-high 8 goals this year. Cummings' 12 assists tied for the lead in MLS and was the 4th highest single season total in Rapids history. Among his other impressive rankings in the league were 2nd in shots (82) 6th in shots on goal (34) T-6th in multi-goal games (2) and T-10th in fouls suffered (41). This season Cummings registered his first two career multi-goal games with a pair of goals against D.C. United on June 20 and vs. Chicago on August 23. His two goals and assist against D.C. earned him his first-ever MLS Player of the Week honors for Week 14. Twice Cummings was nominated for MLS Goal of the Week and he notched the honor in Week 12 following his 88th minute blast in a 1-1 draw against Real Salt Lake on June 6 that also was nominated for MLS Goal of the Year. He also earned the MLS season high for assists in a game recording a career-high three assists against Chivas USA on August 8. Cummings' stellar efforts were not just limited to Colorado throughout the year either as he appeared in four games for the Jamaican National Team vs. Canada (7/3) Costa Rica (7/7) Ecuador (8/12) and scored Jamaica’s only goal in a 1-0 win over El Salvador (7/10) in Gold Cup competition.
SUPPORTERS' PICK: CENTENNIAL FIRM DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Goalkeeper #18 Matt Pickens
This is the inaugural year for this award which goes to the Rapids player who posts the best defensive performances across the season as voted on by members of the Rapids supporters groups on their website NoFanAlone.com. After every Rapids game an online poll is put up on the website where supporters can vote for who they felt was the Defensive Player of the Match. At the end of the season the top vote recipients are compiled into a single final vote to determine who is the Centennial Firm Defensive Player of the Year. This year Matt Pickens won with 51% of the vote edging out Julien Baudet (22%) and Scott Palguta (21%) the next top vote-getters.

SUPPORTERS' PICK: CLASS VI PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Forward #14 Omar Cummings
This is the third year for this award which goes to the Rapids player who posts the top Man of the Match performances across the season as voted on by members of the Rapids supporters groups on their website NoFanAlone.com. After each game an online poll is posted on their site where members can vote for who they felt was the Man of the Match. At the end of the season the top vote recipients are compiled into a single final vote to determine who is the Class VI Player of the Year. This year Omar Cummings won with 53% of the vote edging out the 2008 CVI Player of the Year Award winner Conor Casey (28%) and defender Koskue Kimura (19%).
The Colorado Rapids congratulate all of the club's 2009 player award winners!