Pope awarded Kraft MLS Fair Play Award

Major League Soccer announced today that MetroStars captain Eddie Pope has been given the 2004 Kraft MLS Fair Play award. This announcement was made during the MLS Media Luncheon at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. This is the first time a MetroStars player has earned this award.

Pope had an impressive season with the MetroStars this year showing patience and poise in every appearance. In the 22 games he played he only committed 17 fouls and received just one caution. Pope is arguably one of the most accomplished defenders in MLS history. This veteran has earned 65 caps with the U.S. Men's National Team and wore the captain's armband on several occasions. Pope is most notably known for his outstanding performance in the first MLS Cup in 1996 when scoring the "golden goal" to help D.C. United defeat Los Angeles 3-2.

Pope is no stranger to receiving awards. In 1997 he was presented the MLS Defender of the Year award, along with MLS Best XI in 1997, 1998 and 2003. He was also twice honored with the MetroStars Defender of the Year in 2003 and 2004. In 2000 he accepted United's New York Life Humanitarian of the Year award for his dedication to helping the community.

This award marks the second time a MetroStars player has been honored with a MLS award this off-season. Yesterday, MetroStars midfielder Amado Guevara was named the 2004 Honda MLS MVP.

The other finalists for the 2004 Kraft MLS Fair Play were Colorado Rapids defender Ritchie Kotschau and Chicago Fire midfielder Justin Mapp.