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Philadelphia Union’s Jakob Glesnes Named MLS Defender of the Year

2022 MLS All-Star receives honor for first time in MLS career; Glesnes played every minute of the 2022 regular season for the league-best defense


NEW YORK (Wednesday, October 19, 2022) – Major League Soccer today announced Philadelphia Union center back Jakob Glesnes as the 2022 MLS Defender of the Year. Glesnes becomes the first Union player ever to receive the honor and the first European to win the award since Belgian defender Laurent Ciman in 2015.

Glesnes made Philadelphia Union history in 2022, when he became the club’s first player in consecutive years to start all 34 matches and play all 3,060 regulation minutes of the regular season. A stalwart on the backline, Glesnes was the Union’s only field player to achieve the feat this season, and he was instrumental to their unbeaten home record (12-0-5) this campaign.

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A core piece to the Union’s league-best defense in 2022, Glesnes led the team in interceptions (57) as they finished with the fewest goals conceded (26) during a 34-game season in MLS history. The Union were the only team to concede less than 10 goals at home in 2022 (9) as the Norwegian ranked second among all MLS players in blocks at home with 17.

In addition, Glesnes provided an MLS career-high three assists this season, including an opening day assist against Minnesota United FC on Feb. 26 and a game-winning assist against Orlando City SC on July 23. He also committed 15 less fouls compared to 2021, dropping from 33 to 18, and received five fewer yellow cards as he improved from seven last season to two throughout all of 2022.

Glesnes was selected to the 2022 MLS All-Star Team that went on to defeat the LIGA MX All-Stars 2-1 on Aug. 10.

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:

2022 MLS Defender of the Year Voting Breakdown
2022 MLS Defender of the Year Voting Breakdown
Player Vote
Club Vote
Media Vote
Average Vote
Glesnes, Jakob (PHI)
Wagner, Kai (PHI)
Callens, Alexander (NYC)

A full list of previous MLS Defender of the Year award winners can be found below:

DPOY Table