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There's a new top defender in town.

Philadelphia Union center back Jakob Glesnes has been named the 2022 MLS Defender of the Year, becoming the club's first-ever player to receive the honor. Glesnes has also ended the two-year reign of Nashville SC's Walker Zimmerman in this category.

The 28-year-old Norwegian was a vital piece of MLS's most dominant defense, as the Union allowed a league-low 26 goals (for an astounding +46 goal difference) en route to clinching the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The Union's fearsome backline also includes Defender of the Year runner-up Kai Wagner, center back Jack Elliott and either Olivier Mbaizo or Nathan Harriel at right back. They're anchored by 2022 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year finalist Andre Blake, who's won the accolade on two previous occasions (2016 and 2020).

In 2022, the MLS All-Star led Philadelphia in interceptions (57) as the club finished with an unbeaten regular-season record (12W-0L-5D) at Subaru Park. Glesnes also received just two yellow cards, played every regular-season minute available (3,060) for the second straight year, and registered a career-best three assists.

2022 MLS Defender of the Year | Jakob Glesnes

The Defender 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, with Glesnes beating out Philadelphia teammate Wagner and New York City FC center back Alexander Callens.

Voting Results
Voting Results
Players
Media
Clubs
TOTAL
Jakob Glesnes (PHI)
17.90%
28.50%
31.90%
26.10%
Kai Wagner (PHI)
8.00%
29.30%
6.40%
14.57%
Alexander Callens (NYC)
7.30%
19.50%
12.80%
13.20%

MLS Defender of the Year Winners

  • 2022: Jakob Glesnes - Philadelphia Union
  • 2021: Walker Zimmerman – Nashville SC
  • 2020: Walker Zimmerman – Nashville SC
  • 2019: Ike Opara – Minnesota United
  • 2018: Aaron Long – New York Red Bulls
  • 2017: Ike Opara – Sporting Kansas City
  • 2016: Matt Hedges – FC Dallas
  • 2015: Laurent Ciman – Montreal Impact
  • 2014: Chad Marshall – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2013: Jose Goncalves – New England Revolution
  • 2012: Matt Besler – Sporting Kansas City
  • 2011: Omar Gonzalez – LA Galaxy
  • 2010: Jamison Olave – Real Salt Lake
  • 2009: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
  • 2008: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
  • 2007: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
  • 2006: Bobby Boswell – D.C. United
  • 2005: Jimmy Conrad – Kansas City Wizards
  • 2004: Robin Fraser – Columbus Crew
  • 2003: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
  • 2002: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
  • 2001: Jeff Agoos – San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2000: Peter Vermes – Kansas City Wizards
  • 1999: Robin Fraser – Los Angeles Galaxy
  • 1998: Lubos Kubik – Chicago Fire
  • 1997: Eddie Pope – D.C. United
  • 1996: John Doyle – San Jose Earthquakes