Colorado Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers named MLS AT&T Rookie of the Year

Powers becomes first Rapids player to win top Rookie honors; Brown finishes second

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Monday, November 25, 2013) – Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers has been named Major League Soccer’s AT&T Rookie of the Year, the first time a Colorado player has earned the honor. The 22-year-old out of the University of Notre Dame finished his first professional season with five goals and six assists, both good for second on the team, while leading the team’s offense from his central attacking midfield position. Powers’ teammate, Rapids forward Deshorn Brown, finished second in voting after a stellar first year in which he led all MLS rookies with 10 goals.

Powers will participate in a Google+ hangout this morning at 11 a.m. MT to answer questions from fans and media. Tweet your questions to @ColoradoRapids using the hashtag #AskDillon, and watch the hangout by clicking here.

“We are incredibly proud of Dillon for this accomplishment, though it’s clear that both he and Deshorn would be worthy Rookie of the Year winners,” said Rapids Technical Director Paul Bravo. “Dillon’s skill, tenacity, consistency and character were a big part of our success this year, and he deserves to be recognized. I also feel that in any other season, Deshorn would have easily won this award. I’d like to congratulate both players, and hope that this honor gets them, as well as our fans, even more excited for the 2014 season.”

“Everyone at the club is thrilled for Dillon, the Rapids’ first Rookie of the Year winner,” said Rapids President Tim Hinchey. “He and Deshorn pushed each other throughout the season and they should share this success. I also want to congratulate Paul Bravo, Oscar Pareja, and the rest of our technical staff for recognizing the quality in these two players, and giving them the minutes and the confidence to succeed during the year.”

“Dillon had a great season, showing a lot of maturity and poise,” said Rapids Head Coach Oscar Pareja. “The youth on this team – rookies like Dillon and Deshorn, as well as others like Chris Klute, Shane O’Neill and Clint Irwin – all worked together, and listened to our veterans and coaching staff, to make big impacts this season. I am proud of Dillon for winning Rookie of the Year, and I believe all his teammates can take pride in the award as well.”

All first-year players in MLS without previous professional experience were eligible for the AT&T Rookie of the Year award, voted by media, MLS players and MLS club management based on regular season performance. Powers and Brown are the first teammates to finish atop the AT&T Rookie of the Year voting since 2006, when Chivas USA’s Jonathan Bornstein won the honor just ahead of Sacha Kljestan. Below is a breakdown of the voting for the top four candidates:

AT&T ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTING

Player (Club)

% of Club Votes

% of Media Votes

% of Player Votes

Weighted Total

1) Dillon Powers (COL)

32.65

37.66

22.81

93.12

2) Deshorn Brown (COL)

24.49

32.47

18.53

75.49

3) DeAndre Yedlin (SEA)

10.2

15.58

17.12

42.9

4) Gyasi Zardes  (LA)

16.33

3.9

11.2

31.43

 

Powers was the 11th overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft after an outstanding four year career at Notre Dame, and he quickly established himself as one of the top attacking midfielders in MLS. Excellent passing, control, vision and touch allowed Powers to earn a starting spot from the first game of the year, and quickly drew notice with goals ranging from the spectacular (a 25-yard strike against Portland) to timely (a clutch early second-half goal against LA) to cagey (recognizing a slowly organizing defense to head home against Seattle). A primary set-piece taker for the Rapids, he got assists from corner kicks and free kicks as well as from the run of play. The Dallas native was named the Rapids’ MVP for his performances throughout the year.

Brown finished his impressive first MLS campaign with 10 goals in his 31 matches, leading the Rapids and also scoring the most goals for an MLS rookie since Damani Ralph set the record with 11 in 2003. The 6th overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, Brown scored his first professional goal in the team’s first match of the Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup against Real Salt Lake on March 16, and scored against the Rapids’ main rivals again in the decisive third game of the series. He scored twice against Seattle on October 15, including the third-fastest goal in MLS history after just 15 seconds. Also earning four assists, Brown’s performances for Colorado earned him a call-up to the Jamaican National Team for the first time in October, where he played in the team’s final two CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers.

The Rapids will open preseason camp in late January of 2014, and have already scheduled a series of exhibition matches as part of the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz. For more information on the club, or to purchase 2014 season tickets, visit www.ColoradoRapids.com or call 303-825-GOAL.