KANSAS CITY, MO - The Kansas City Wizards today announced their end of the year honors with forward Josh Wolff and defender Jimmy Conrad each earning two awards. Josh Wolff was named the Wizards Honda Most Valuable Player and also captured the Wizards Budweiser Scoring Title. Jimmy Conrad earned Wizards Defender of the Year honors and was also named Humanitarian of the Year.
"Both Jimmy and Josh are worthy recipients of these honors, and there are a handful of other names that contributed immensely as well," said Wizards Coach Bob Gansler. "The media, on one hand had a very difficult decision, but on the other hand they really couldn't go wrong. Kudos to both of these gentlemen."
Wolff, 27, enjoyed a career year with the Wizards setting career highs in scoring with 27 points, goals (10), starts (25) and minutes played (2,252). His 27 points (10g, 7a) led the Wizards in scoring and tied him for 5th in MLS in scoring. In just his second season in Kansas City, Wolff garnered team MVP honors after helping lead the team to its first Western Conference Regular Season Title since 2000, and a share of the best record in MLS. Of his 10 goals scored in 2004, three were game-winners. He also added five game-winning assists.
"Josh proved himself as a runner and a gunner and a high scoring forward," added Gansler. "But he also showed a good sense of playmaking responsibilities that he added to get other people goals and create opportunities for the team. He took his game up another notch as well, not only on the club level but also with the National Team. He is a very well versed, all-around forward. He is a very threatening forward, not only by himself, but also by involving the rest of the team."
Conrad's Defender of the Year honor was well deserved as the 27-year-old anchored the best defensive unit in MLS. Conrad and the Wizards allowed just 30 goals in 2004, the lowest in MLS, while also posting a League-high 12 shutouts on the year. Conrad's leadership in the back helped solidify the Wizards defense despite a goalkeeper transition in mid-August after Tony Meola was forced out with an injury. His impressive contributions have also placed him as the frontrunner for the MLS Defender of the Year honor.
"Jimmy was his very solid self. He had a very good year last year when we were playing a little differently in the back and this year he stepped it up even more and was one of the more solid defenders in the League," said Gansler. "He was never overmatched whether he was defending against power forwards, quick ones, fast ones or a combination of all of those. He has also added organizational duties to his workload and has pushed himself into being one of the elite defenders in this League."
Not only does Conrad play a pivotal role for the Wizards on the field, but he also plays a large role in the community as well, leading to his recognition as the Wizards Humanitarian of the Year. He regularly makes appearances at Children's Mercy Hospital and KU Medical Center visiting with patients, then always invites them to a Wizards game for VIP treatment once they are well. He also hosted a soccer camp for the National Sports Center for the Disabled in July, giving disabled children from all over the Kansas City area the chance to learn and take part in the game of soccer.
The 2004 U.S. Open Cup Champion Kansas City Wizards begin their quest for a second championship this season on Sunday, October 24th when they take on the defending MLS Cup Champion San Jose Earthquakes at Spartan Stadium in the first round of the playoffs. The first match of the two-game series will kickoff at 4:00 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
The Wizards will host the second game of the two-game series against the Earthquakes at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday, October 30th at 7:30 p.m. CT. All fans at the Wizards playoff game will receive a pair of Thundersticks and a coupon for a free dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts if the Wizards score two goals. In addition, the first 5,000 youth 15 years and younger in the gates will receive a complimentary pass to the Crown Center Ice Terrace. Individual tickets are available though Ticketmaster by calling 816-931-3330 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.