Dallas, Tex. - Dallas Burn President and General Manager Greg Elliott announced today the individual team awards for the Burn during their 2004 season. The players will be honored with a brief ceremony following Dallas' match with San Jose tonight at the Cotton Bowl. The awards were voted on by a panel of Dallas/Fort Worth-area media members. The winners of the awards are as follows: Budweiser Scoring Champion - Eddie Johnson, Honda Most Valuable Player - Simo Valakari, U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year - Steve Jolley, Defender of the Year - Cory Gibbs.
BUDWEISER SCORING CHAMPION - Eddie Johnson, Forward
Given to the Burn player who led the team in scoring, Johnson enters tonight's match with 11 goals and three assists for 25 points. Johnson tallied just three goals for six points last season and has emerged as one of the league's best young players this year. He entered tonight's match, first in the MLS in game-winning goals (7), tied for first in goals (11), tied for first in multi-goal games (3), third in shots (72), tied for sixth in points (25) and seventh in shots on goal (31).
HONDA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER - Simo Valakari, Midfielder
The Helsinki, Finland native came over to the United States for his first taste of MLS action and the Dallas Burn benefited greatly. Consistently one of the best Dallas players night in and night out all season long, Valakari fit in very nicely with his new surroundings after playing the last four years with Derby County in England. He entered tonight's match, starting in all 25 matches he appeared in this season. Valakari played the full 90 minutes in 21 of those 25 matches.
U.S. SOCCER FOUNDATION HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR - Steve Jolley, Defender
The Virginia Beach, VA native came over from the Metrostars for his first season with the Burn. He proved to be one of the top defenders for the Burn on the field and always willing to help out off the field. Jolley conducted several autograph sessions, player appearances and player clinics throughout the 2004 season. He is also very active in America Scores, a non-profit, after school program that brings soccer and literacy to public school students around the country.
DEFENDER OF THE YEAR - Cory Gibbs, Defender
Proving to be a mainstay for the Dallas Burn all season long, Cory Gibbs wins the Defender of the Year Award in just his first season with the Burn. Has appeared in 20 matches this season with Dallas and has played the full 90 minutes 18 times.