Executive and team personnel awards winners

Major League Soccer announced today the winners of the Team Executive and Personnel awards, recognizing nine behind-the-scenes individuals and departments for their outstanding work during the 2004 season. The recipients will be honored along with the players and coaches who take the various year-end awards during the MLS Gala Awards Party at the Universal Studios Globe Theater on Saturday, Nov. 14.

The winners were selected from total votes comprised of the team General Managers, the League office, and team peers working in respective departments. In addition to the previously mentioned, media also voted for the Public Relations Department of the Year.

For the second consecutive season Los Angeles Galaxy President and General Manager Doug Hamilton was selected as the MLS Executive of the Year. Michael Hitchcock, the Galaxy's Vice President of Sales, is also a return winner as the Ticketing Executive of the Year, having first won the honor while leading the Colorado Rapids ticketing department during the 2002 season. The Galaxy ticketing group won the Sales Team of the Year, while account executive Tim Martin was the Ticket Sales Leader of the Year.

D.C. United captured three honors, with Jamie O'Connor receiving the Marketing Director of the Year, Brian Goodstein recognized as the top Athletic Trainer, and Doug Hicks leading his department to take the Public Relations Department of the Year honors.

Four other teams had at least one representative honored. Kate McAllister (San Jose Earthquakes) was chosen as the Operations Executive of the Year, Donald Ortale (Chicago Fire) the Community Relations Director of the Year, Rick Dressel (Colorado Rapids) the New Haven Travel Team Manager of the Year, and Tucker Walther (Columbus Crew) the KwikGoal Equipment Manager of the Year.

MLS Cup 2004 will be played on Sunday, November 14 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., with the Kansas City Wizards and D.C. United each looking to raise the Alan I. Rothenberg trophy again. United will be appearing in their fifth MLS Cup, having won it on three occasions (1996, 1997, 1999). The Wizards return for their second appearance, having been crowned Champs in 2000.

A rundown of the winners follows:

Executive of the Year: Doug Hamilton (Los Angeles Galaxy)

As President and General Manager of the Los Angeles Galaxy, Doug Hamilton oversaw all aspects in the operation of the team, including the hiring of new head coach Steve Sampson and supervising the entire front office staff. Following the successful opening of The Home Depot Center in 2003, Hamilton was instrumental in building on that success by increasing the club's average attendance by 6.5 percent to over 23,000 per game and consistently filling the stadium to 86.4 percent of its capacity. The team has drawn over 20,000 fans in 29 of 30 regular season games. The 2003 MLS Executive of the Year, Hamilton oversaw the club's League-leading corporate sponsorship deals by an impressive increase of 25 percent.

Marketing Executive of the Year: Jaime O'Connor (D.C. United)

With D.C. United since 1996, Jamie O'Connor was responsible for United's many marketing promotions, including the Community Soccer Series, the Youth Fan Club and the Coaches' Association as well as the launch of the D.C. United Academy while effectively promoting Freddy Adu and other United players. He also oversaw the formation and placement of the club's advertising campaign, "We Are United, Now and Forever". As well, he oversees the client services area for the club and was involved in taking on the local marketing initiatives the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game.

Ticketing Executive of the Year: Michael Hitchcock (Los Angeles Galaxy)

As Vice President of Sales, Michael Hitchcock has lifted the club's ticket sales to new heights, recording five sold out regular season games and averaging more then 23,000 fans per game at The Home Depot Center, a 6.5 percent increase from the club's inaugural season in 2003. In fact, Hitchcock and his staff have consistently filled the building by drawing over 20,000 fans in all but one match this season, despite having the lowest walkup sales in club history. The club's attendance numbers have been bolstered by Hitchcock's tireless efforts in the group, and season ticket categories which saw the club lead the league in new full season tickets sold, more than doubling the next closest team, and in group sales with over 120,000 group tickets sold.

Team Ticketing Sales Award: Los Angeles Galaxy - The 2004 Galaxy Sales Team averaged a League High 23,809 fans per game at The Home Depot Center, including five regular season sellouts (27,000). In addition, the Sales Team led all of Major League Soccer in Group Sales, New Season Seat Sales and Total Season Seat Sales.

Ticket Sales Leader of the Year: Tim Martin (Los Angeles Galaxy) - Tim Martin joined the LA Galaxy Sales Team in 2002, as a Soccer Account Executive. During his 3rd MLS Season, Tim finished in the Top Six in Major League Soccer in New Season Seat Sales, Group Sales and Total Ticket Revenue.

Ticket Revenue Sales Leaders: Greg Zaskowksi (Chicago Fire), Tim Martin (Los Angeles Galaxy), James Mullins (Los Angeles Galaxy), James Mullins (Los Angeles Galaxy), Mike Mondello (MetroStars), Dave Quinn (Chicago Fire), Gilbert Gamboa (Los Angeles Galaxy).

Season Ticket Sales Leaders: Mike Mondello (MetroStars), Scott Foster (Dallas Burn), Meredith Barlin (Los Angeles Galaxy), James Mullins (Los Angeles Galaxy), Tim Martin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Armando Portillo (D.C. United).

Group Ticket Sales Leaders: Becky Godsey (Colorado Rapids), Tim Martin (Los Angeles Galaxy), Ali Bradshaw (Dallas Burn), David Zorn (Columbus Crew), Dylan Hanlon (Columbus Crew), Gilbert Gamboa (Los Angeles Galaxy).

Public Relations Team Award: D.C. United

Vice President of Communication Doug Hicks oversaw a department that successfully managed a demanding media schedule for the team which included the scheduling, coordinating and planning of Freddy Adu's many media requests, sponsor obligations and public appearances as well as the construction of a media plan in response to Major League Baseball's relocation efforts. In addition to routinely developing quality content-based collaterals in English and Spanish, United's public relations department was involved a host of valuable community relations properties and the development of business plans for every area of the club's organization.

Operations Executive of the Year: Kate McAllister (San Jose Earthquakes)

Working with a diverse staff at Spartan Stadium, Kate McAllister successfully oversaw the operations for a total of 18 soccer games at Spartan Stadium in 2004, including three international matches. Working in concert with San Jose State University, McAllister consistently paved the way for smooth pre and post game events and activities, while managing all business arrangements at Spartan Stadium. McAllister has also successfully negotiated numerous internal projects for the organization in 2004 including a move to the new Earthquakes office in downtown San Jose, organizing the Quakes Open House Party and operating the Quakes First Annual Charity Golf Classic. McAllister also serves as the Director of Business Operations for the club.

Community Relations Executive of the Year: Donald Ortale (Chicago Fire)

In addition to increasing the team's donation and community awareness through player appearances, Donald Ortale brought out more than 4,000 disadvantaged children to Fire's successful "Kids Night Out" program. Donald also organized the Fire's anti-smoking school assembly program for 7th straight year. The program has now visited almost 75,000 children and is being credited by American Lung Association for contributing to the statistical decrease in smoking among young people in Chicagoland. During the 2004 season, Donald developed three new major relationships with community groups that resulted in 1,200 group tickets sold while assisting the groups raise more than $750,000 for their causes. Through his efforts, the Fire raised more than $275,000 in donations and grants for the FireWorks for Kids Foundation.

Athletic Trainer of the Year: Brian Goodstein (D.C. United)

Brian Goodstein has been the key driver in the recovery of several United players who have suffered serious injuries in the past year, including forwards Jaime Moreno, Thiago Martins, Santino Quaranta, and goalkeeper Nick Rimando. Moreno has fully recovered from career-threatening back surgery to become a serious candidate for MVP of the League while Rimando played a full match exactly five months from ACL surgery. Goodstein has also been instrumental in the recovery programs for Santino Quaranta (long-term groin problems) and Thiago Martins (ACL).

New Haven Travel Team Manager of the Year: Rick Dressel (Colorado Rapids)

In his ninth season with the Rapids, Rick Dressel is the main resource for both rookies and veteran players alike, assisting them with everything from securing work visas to finding housing. One of the most valuable and tenured members of the team staff, Dressel handles all of the team's administration issues and is responsible for the coordination of the all the team's travel and lodging logistics. This year, Dressel successfully scheduled and managed spring training trips to Spain and Mexico, as well as the exhibition match the MetroStars in San Antonio, Texas. Rick works closely with the team's Media Relations and broadcasting departments to secure travel and lodging for the broadcast personnel, as well as with the Community Relations department in assisting with player appearance and autograph requests.

Kwikgoal Equipment Manager of the Year: Tucker Walther (Columbus Crew)

In his fourth season handling the roles of both equipment manager and team manager for the Crew, Tucker Walther is the first-ever recipient of the MLS Equipment Manager of the Year. He handles all the club's equipment needs both at home and on the road, while also dealing with the club's travel and accommodation needs on its travels and handles all details for new players in getting them settled upon their arrival in Columbus.

Stay connected: The official MLS app keeps you connected with the latest news, highlights, scores, standings, and analysis all for FREE. Download for iOS (Apple) or Download for Android