JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The MetroStars presented their 2004 regular season awards tonight at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ. The night featured 16 awards with 10 going to MetroStars players, three to the Youth Soccer Clubs of the Year, two to MetroStars Player Development Academy players and one to the "Red and Black's" Fan of the Year.
Amado Guevara took home the most hardware of the night, winning three awards including the 2004 Honda Most Valuable Player, Budweiser Scoring Champion and MetroStars.com Player of the Year.
The MetroStars Most Valuable Player, sponsored by American Honda Motor Company, awards the player who made the most significant impact on the MetroStars success in the 2004 regular season. Guevara, in his second year with the Metros, proved to be invaluable to the squad this season. He led the team and league in total points and also demonstrated his leadership skills, separating him from other players in the league.
Additionally, Guevara was crowned the MetroStars 2004 Budweiser Scoring Champion. Guevara tied Pat Noonan for the league title with 30 points. His 10 goals and 10 assists proved to be beneficial in many key games for the Metros this season. John Wolyniec finished second on the MetroStars in points with 23 points.
The captain of the Honduran national team was also recognized as MetroStars.com Player of the Year. This award was voted on by fans on the team's website www.metrostars.com.
Tim Regan captured the U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award for the second straight year. This award is presented to the player who has made a significant impact on the local community and recognizes the player who has served as the strongest role model while also being a steady community contributor. Regan has established himself in this role off the field. He has coached youth soccer in Wyckoff, read to the children of Harrison in the public library, visited children at St. Barnabas Medical Center, taught handicapped children the fundamentals of soccer and is an active member of the "Athletes in Action" organization.
Eddie Pope was also a back-to-back winner. Pope took home the MetroStars 2004 Defender of the Year award for the second straight year. Pope is recognized as one of the greatest American defenders of all-time. He is the team captain and a fixture on the U.S. men's national team squad. He has been a steadying force behind the MetroStars defense this year helping them make their second consecutive playoff appearance.
Another fixture in the 2004 MetroStars line-up took home this year's Unsung Player of the Year Award. This award honors the player who makes consistent contributions to the team without receiving headlines and great notoriety, however is just as important as the team star. John Wolyniec proved to be a steady and important contributor for the "Red and Black" in 2004. He started 23 games, scored 10 goals and had three assists. Five of his 10 goals scored were game winners.
Jeff Parke was awarded 2004's Newcomer of the Year. The award goes to a new player whose play proved most valuable for the team. There were 11 eligible players including rookies, and those acquired in trades, signings and transfers. Parke burst out on the soccer scene this year in his rookie campaign. The Drexel product was the last pick in 2004's MLS SuperDraft, however his strong and solid play earned him a starting position in the Metros back line bolstering the team's defense.
Defender Chris Leitch was also recognized for his contributions to the 2004 "Red and Black" squad. Leitch brought home 2004's Iron Man Award, which goes to the player who logs the most minutes of action throughout the course of the year. Leitch started 29 of 30 games, playing the full 90 minutes in each of those contests.
MetroStars sophomore Eddie Gaven claimed the rights to the Young Player of the Year Award. The award recognizes a player under the age of 23 who has been able to handle the pressures of being a professional athlete while delivering positive results on the field. At the young age of 17, Gaven has proven to be an integral part of the MetroStars squad. He tallied seven goals and seven assists giving him 21 points on the season, good for third-place on the team, trailing only Amado Guevara and John Wolyniec. Additionally, Gaven has been called up to the U.S. men's national team roster multiple times this year, earning his first cap in a friendly match against Poland earlier this year.
As a new twist, the MetroStars also decided to honor 2004's Play of the Year. There was a tie in the voting for this category with Cornell Glen and Joselito Vaca being recognized for their respective goals in a wild 5-5 tie against the San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium on May 8.
In addition to honoring the players, the MetroStars organization also honored youth soccer clubs, developmental players and its greatest fan of the year.
The MetroStars work with hundreds of youth soccer clubs throughout the Tri-State area, however there are some clubs that demonstrate extraordinary levels of support and participation in MetroStars activities. The Youth Soccer Clubs of the Year took part in many of the MetroStars programs and served as strong outlets to promote the growth and success of soccer in this area. Arsenal Soccer Club, Toms River Soccer Club and Hackettstown Soccer Club all took home this honor for their contributions.
The MetroStars also honored two members of their Youth Development Program. The MetroStars Academy Teams compete at the U-19 and U-16 levels. These two teams provide local youth players an outstanding opportunity and positive environment to develop and mature as young pros. Steven Amaya, a member of the U-16 squad, was honored as Young Player of the Year and Stephen Franchini, member of the U-19 squad was awarded for his leadership both on and off the field. Both youngsters proved vital to the success enjoyed by each of their squads in 2004.
Finally, the "Red and Black" recognized one of their most faithful, John Russo, as Fan of the Year. The MetroStars organization received multiple online submissions for this award and narrowed down their search for the winner, which was ultimately decided upon by the team. Russo has been a passionate supporter since the team's inception in 1996 and has become a recognizable face amongst staff, players, media and other fans earning him this award. Nominations for this award were submitted online, and the MetroStars players voted on a winner from the online nominations.
Of the ten awards going to players, seven were voted on by the media (2004 Honda MetroStars Most Valuable Player, 2004 United States Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year, 2004 Major League Soccer's Defender of the Year, 2004 Unsung Player of the Year, 2004 MetroStars Newcomer of the Year, 2004 MetroStars Young Player of the Year and 2004 MetroStars Play of the Year), two were awarded by statistical analysis (2004 MetroStars Budweiser Scoring Champion and 2004 MetroStars Iron Man) and one was voted on by the fans at www.metrostars.com (2004 MetroStars.com Player of the Year).
2004 MetroStars Honda Most Valuable Player - Amado Guevara
2004 United States Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year - Tim Regan
2004 MetroStars Young Player of the Year - Eddie Gaven
2004 Major League Soccer's MetroStars Defender of the Year - Eddie Pope
2004 MetroStars Play of the Year - Cornell Glen, Joselito Vaca
2004 MetroStars Unsung Player - John Wolyniec
2004 MetroStars Newcomer of the Year - Jeff Parke
2004 MetroStars Budweiser Scoring Champion - Amado Guevara
2004 MetroStars Iron Man - Chris Leitch
2004 MetroStars.com Player of the Year - Amado Guevara
2004 MetroStars Fan of the Year - John Russo
2004 MetroStars Youth Soccer Clubs of the Year - Arsenal Soccer Club, Toms River Soccer Club, Hackettstown Soccer Club
2004 MetroStars Player Development Academy Players of the Year - Steven Amaya (U-16), Stephen Franchini (U-19)