Three D.C. United players and Head Coach Ben Olsen are among the finalists announced for Major League Soccer’s 2014 year-end awards. Three finalists were named for each award, including Olsen for Coach of the Year, Bobby Boswell for Defender of the Year, Bill Hamid for Goalkeeper of the Year, and Steven Birnbaum for Rookie of the Year.
In his fifth season as head coach of the Black-and-Red, Ben Olsen led United to its most successful regular season in club history, 17-9-8 (59 points), as well as the top Eastern Conference seed in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs. A year after finishing last in the Eastern Conference with a 3-24-7 record, the former United standout orchestrated the greatest single-season turnaround in MLS history as the club, a 42-point improvement. Outside of the MLS regular season, Olsen’s side went 4-0 in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League group stage, defeating Panamanian side Tauro FC and Jamaican side Waterhouse FC both home and away. With a perfect record in the group stage, United will enter the quarterfinals as the No.1 overall seed. In five years with the club, Olsen has an overall record of 49-64-35.
In his first season with D.C. United since 2007, defender Bobby Boswell was named team captain and was one of only three field players in MLS to start every game (34) in 2014. The veteran centerback anchored a Black-and-Red defense that finished tied for first in goals against average (1.09) and allowed the fewest goals at home in MLS en route to the top seed in the Eastern Conference in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs. Boswell also recorded one goal and a career-high three assists. Boswell was previously named the MLS Defender of the Year in 2006, during his first stint with D.C. United.
In his fifth MLS season, Homegrown goalkeeper Bill Hamid has been nominated for his first Goalkeeper of the Year award. The Annandale, Va., product set career highs for games played and started (30) as well as minutes played (2,700), shutouts (10), saves (110) and wins (14). The 23-year-old finished the season with the best saves percentage in MLS (75.3), second in shutouts, third in goals against average (1.13), tied for fourth in wins and fourth in saves. He is the only goalkeeper to finish the MLS season in the top three in saves percentage, shutouts and goals against average. Hamid was also named to his first MLS All-Star team in 2014, becoming the first Homegrown goalkeeper to do so.
The Black-and-Red’s first pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft (2nd overall), Steven Birnbaum has continued the club’s recent string of rookies making an immediate impact. Beginning with his first start on June 7 against the Columbus Crew in a 0-0 draw at FedExField, Birnbaum started and play every minute of 21 consecutive games over the rest of the season for a defense that finished tied for first in goals against average (1.09) and allowed the fewest goals at home in MLS. The Irvine, Calif., native and University of California product also started both playoff games for United against the New York Red Bulls. Birnbaum is the fifth D.C. United rookie of the year finalist in six seasons, joining Chris Pontius (2009 finalist), Andy Najar (2010 Rookie of the Year), Perry Kitchen (2011 finalist) and Nick DeLeon (2012 finalist).
2014 Major League Soccer Awards Finalists
(Listed in alphabetical order by last name within each award category)
AT&T Rookie of the Year Finalists
Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas)
Steven Birnbaum (D.C. United)
Harrison Shipp (Chicago Fire)
Defender of the Year Finalists
Bobby Boswell (D.C. United)
Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Coach of the Year Finalists
Gregg Berhalter (Columbus Crew SC)
Ben Olsen (D.C. United)
Sigi Schmid (Seattle Sounders FC)
Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists
Steve Clark (Columbus Crew SC)
Bill Hamid (D.C. United)
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Awards Announcements Schedule:
Schedule subject to change
November 24: AT&T Rookie of the Year, Xbox Fair Play Individual and Team of the Year
November 25: MLS Defender of the Year, MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, and Referee/Assistant Referee of the Year
December 2: MLS Coach of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year and MLS Best XI
December 3: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Volkswagen MLS MVP
December 4: AT&T Goal of the Year, MLS Save of the Year
About D.C. United
D.C. United is the most successful professional soccer organization in the history of the United States. United is four-time MLS Cup Champions (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004) and winners of the 1996, 2008 and 2013 U.S. Open Cup, the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the 1998 Interamerican Cup and the 1997, 1999, 2006 and 2007 MLS Supporters Shield.