2017 Awards - Rookie of the Year - Julian Gressel

Atlanta midfielder Julian Gressel wins 2017 AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year

Atlanta United midfielder Julian Gressel was named 2017 AT&T MLS Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, winning the award after a sparkling first professional season with the Five Stripes.

The eighth overall selection in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Gressel recorded five goals and nine assists in 32 regular season appearances and 24 starts for Atlanta this year. The German midfielder’s nine helpers were the third-most recorded by a rookie in MLS history, trailing only Andy Williams and Clint Mathis, who had 12 and 10 assists, respectively, in 1998. Gressel’s play was key to Atlanta becoming just the third expansion team in league history and first since 2009 to make the MLS Cup Playoffs.

The 23-year-old Providence College product was a versatile option for Atlanta head coach Tata Martino, lining up in several different midfield spots throughout the campaign. He was a key player right from the jump, starting each of Atlanta’s first six matches and recording his first assist in their second-ever game, a 6-1 demolition of Minnesota United on March 12. He was particularly instrumental down the stretch, registering two goals and three assists in a string of five appearances from Sept. 16 to Oct. 13.

Gressel’s 14 combined goals and assists led all MLS rookies. He played a total of 2,048 minutes in regular season action, and another 120 in Atlanta’s playoff loss – in which he missed a penalty kick in the shootout – to Columbus Crew SC.

Gressel comfortably beat Minnesota forward Abu Danladi and Philadelphia defender Jack Elliott for the award, which was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and current MLS players.

Below is a breakdown of the voting results:

AT&T Rookie of the Year Player Vote % Media Vote % Club Vote % Average %
Julian Gressel (ATL) 48.97% 56.67% 55.95% 53.86%
Abu Danladi (MIN) 14.40% 17.58% 16.67% 16.22%
Jack Elliott (PHI) 3.70% 13.94% 5.95% 7.86%
Nick Lima (SJ) 8.23% 3.33% 1.19% 4.25%
Ian Harkes (DC) 8.23% 0.91% 1.19% 3.44%
Jake Nerwinski (VAN) >3.29% 2.42% 1.19% 2.30%

All-Time AT&T Rookie of the Year Winners

  • 2017: Julian Gressel – Atlanta United
  • 2016: Jordan Morris – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2015: Cyle Larin – Orlando City SC
  • 2014: Tesho Akindele – FC Dallas
  • 2013: Dillon Powers – Colorado Rapids
  • 2012: Austin Berry – Chicago Fire
  • 2011: C.J. Sapong – Sporting Kansas City
  • 2010: Andy Najar – D.C. United
  • 2009: Omar Gonzalez – LA Galaxy
  • 2008: Sean Franklin – LA Galaxy
  • 2007: Maurice Edu – Toronto FC
  • 2006: Jonathan Bornstein – Chivas USA
  • 2005: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
  • 2004: Clint Dempsey – New England Revolution
  • 2003: Damani Ralph – Chicago Fire
  • 2002: Kyle Martino – Columbus Crew
  • 2001: Rodrigo Faria – MetroStars
  • 2000: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
  • 1999: Jay Heaps – Miami Fusion
  • 1998: Ben Olsen – D.C. United
  • 1997: Mike Duhaney – Tampa Bay Mutiny
  • 1996: Steve Ralston – Tampa Bay Mutiny

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