MLS League Awards

MLS 2021 year-end awards finalists

MLS awards season has arrived. Finalists for the 2021 MLS year-end awards, honoring top performers on and off the field during the regular season, were announced by Major League Soccer Monday afternoon.

The finalists are spread across 15 clubs, more than in any of the last four years. The five contenders for the coveted Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Award led their respective clubs to top-four finishes in their conference. Those five are MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi winner Valentín “Taty” Castellanos from New York City FC, MLS assist leader Carles Gil from Supporters’ Shield-winning New England Revolution, Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC), João Paulo (Seattle Sounders FC) and Dániel Sallói (Sporting Kansas City).

The competition for Young Player of the Year Award is fierce with the LA Galaxy's Julián Araujo alongside New England Revolution star Tajon Buchanan of the Canadian national team and FC Dallas Academy product Ricardo Pepi of the US national team in the chase.

The below finalists (in alphabetical order) earned the most votes in polling among three voting groups:

  • Current MLS players
  • MLS club technical staffs (coaches, technical directors/GMs)
  • Select group of media members

Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists

  • Valentín Castellanos (New York City FC)
  • Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)
  • João Paulo (Seattle Sounders FC)
  • Dániel Sallói (Sporting Kansas City)

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists

  • Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
  • Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
  • Joe Willis (Nashville SC)

Defender of the Year Finalists

  • Yeimar Gómez (Seattle Sounders FC)
  • Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)
  • Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

Newcomer of the Year Finalists

For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player who made his MLS debut in 2021.

  • Cristian ‘Chicho’ Arango (Los Angeles Football Club)
  • Ryan Gauld (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
  • Eduardo ‘Chofis’ López (San Jose Earthquakes)

Young Player of the Year Finalists

For this award, “young player” is defined as a player age 22 (born on or after Jan. 1, 1999).

  • Julián Araujo (LA Galaxy)
  • Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution)
  • Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas)

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

Honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2021 regular season.

  • Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Javier "Chicharito" Hernández (LA Galaxy)
  • Dániel Sallói (Sporting Kansas City)

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Finalists

  • Julián Araujo (LA Galaxy)
  • Justin Morrow (Toronto FC)
  • Brad Stuver (Austin FC)

Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year Finalists

  • Bruce Arena (New England Revolution)
  • Robin Fraser (Colorado Rapids)
  • Brian Schmetzer (Seattle Sounders FC)

Referee of the Year Finalists

  • Jair Marrufo
  • Robert Sibiga
  • Armando Villarreal

Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists

  • Frank Anderson
  • Ian Anderson
  • Cory Richardson