RENTON, WASH. – Major League Soccer today announced Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Mauro Rosales was voted the 2011 MLS Newcomer of the Year.
Rosales finished third among MLS playmakers with 13 assists (five game-winning), a new club record, and added five goals (tied-third on the club). Rosales, a former Argentine international playing his first season for Seattle, appeared in 26 MLS matches and helped Seattle to the league’s second-best record.
“This is an award I share with my teammates because without them we could not be so successful,” said Rosales. “It’s been a great season and I am honored by this vote of the media, as well as players and executives of other clubs. I would like thank everyone in the Sounders family—my fellow players, the coaches, staff and, of course, the fans.”
Rosales, 30, signed with Sounders FC on March 18 after playing from 2007-2010 for Buenos Aires giants River Plate. He has played nearly 400 matches for River Plate, Ajax and Newell’s Old Boys, and has been capped 10 times by the Argentina National Team, winning the Olympic gold medal in 2004.
“Mauro was a splendid addition to our team,” added Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “His creativity, enthusiasm and quality added greatly to our team success in 2011. He is a deserving winner of this award.”
Rosales was named MLS Player of the Week for his performance against the Colorado Rapids in Week 18 when he recorded an assist and scored the late game-winner. He was named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week a team-high seven times.
Rosales made a strong first impression as he recorded assists in his first two MLS starts and his first goal came at home in a Cascadia Cup fixture against Vancouver. He either scored (two) or assisted (six) in five consecutive matches from August 20 to October 15, despite missing much of the final month of the season due to injury.
Sounders FC lost just three times with Rosales in the starting XI, going 13-3-6 in his 22 starts. Rosales led the team to several wins this season, highlighted by his late efforts in Kansas City when he scored and assisted in the dying minutes to give Seattle a dramatic 2-1 comeback victory. Seattle went 10-1-2 when Rosales scored or assisted.
Seattle forward Fredy Montero won the MLS top newcomer award in 2009.
The Newcomer of the Year honors the player who is in his first season in Major League Soccer, but has prior professional experience, making him ineligible for Rookie of the Year honors. The award’s prior recipients were D.C. United’s Luciano Emilio (2007), San Jose’s Darren Huckerby (2008), Seattle’s Fredy Montero (2009) and Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio (2010).