In outstanding MLS debut season, Colombian National Team player wins honor after contributing a team-high 14 goals and two assists in his first 17 MLS appearances

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NEW YORK (Monday, Nov. 19, 2021) – Major League Soccer today announced Los Angeles Football Club forward Cristian “Chicho” Arango as the 2021 MLS Newcomer of the Year. The award recognizes the year’s most impactful new MLS player, whose first season in the league came during 2021. Arango shone the brightest among a class of nearly 250 star-studded newcomers that averaged 22.8 years of age and hailed from 53 countries.

  • ​Video of LAFC co-owner & NBA legend Magic Johnson surprising Arango with the news of his award, and Arango's reaction upon being awarded by one of his sports idols, is available HERE.
  • CLICK HERE for photos and highlights from Cristian Arango’s 2021 MLS season.

Arango joined LAFC on Aug. 2 and made his debut Aug. 8 against San Jose Earthquakes. He was named MLS Player of the Week twice this season (Week 24 and Week 31) and was on the MLS Team of the Week on three occasions. He became the fourth player in LAFC history to register a hat trick, scoring three goals vs. Dallas on Oct. 20. 

The start to Arango’s career was one of the most prolific in MLS history, as the former Millonarios FC striker finished with team-high 14 goals in just 17 MLS appearances. His 13 goals in his first 15 MLS games ranked as the third-most in league history to start a career. The 26-year-old ranked second in MLS in goals per 90 minutes (0.90) behind D.C. United forward Ola Kamara (0.94) and played 1,400 minutes and contributed two assists in 2021.

He made his mark in the LAFC history books when he registered the fastest goal in the club’s history, scoring just 20 seconds into the game against Real Salt Lake on September 12. It equaled the eighth-fastest goal in MLS history.

Building on his success for LAFC, the Medellín native earned his first-ever call-up to the Colombian National Team, making his debut in Conmebol World Cup Qualifying against Paraguay on Nov. 16.

Arango beat out for the award other standout players such as Ryan Gauld (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and Eduardo ‘Chofis’ López (San Jose Earthquakes).

The Newcomer of the Year award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and current MLS players. Below is a breakdown of the voting results.

Voting Results
MLS NEWCOMER FINALISTS
PLAYER
CLUB
MEDIA
TOTAL
Arango, Cristian 'Chicho' (LAFC)
32.80%
36.40%
46.30%
38.50%
Gauld, Ryan (VAN)
7.80%
27.30%
13.30%
16.13%
López, Eduardo 'Chofis' (SJ)
6.30%
3.00%
9.90%
6.40%
Araujo, Luiz (ATL)
10.90%
3.00%
2.50%
5.47%
Gregore (MIA)
1.60%
9.10%
2.00%
4.23%

MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners:

  • 2021: Cristian Arango – Los Angeles Football Club
  • 2020: Lucas Zelarayán – Columbus Crew SC
  • 2019: Carles Gil – New England Revolution
  • 2018: Zlatan Ibrahimović – LA Galaxy
  • 2017: Miguel Almirón – Atlanta United
  • 2016: Nicolás Lodeiro – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2015: Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC
  • 2014: Pedro Morales – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
  • 2013: Diego Valeri – Portland Timbers
  • 2012: Federico Higuaín – Columbus Crew SC
  • 2011: Mauro Rosales – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2010: Álvaro Saborío – Real Salt Lake
  • 2009: Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2008: Darren Huckerby – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2007: Luciano Emílio – D.C. United