Two incredible stories embroiled the New England Revolution in 2013 and both were recognized with postseason awards.
Last week, Matt Reis was named MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year for his life-saving efforts in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and on Monday, Kevin Alston was named Comeback Player of the Year after his recovery from chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare but treatable form of leukemia.
Alston was diagnosed with CML in April and promptly stepped away from soccer to focus his efforts on fighting the disease. He underwent treatment for four and a half months and made his return on July 27, subbing in to a 2-1 win over D.C. United in his hometown of Washington, D.C.
Alston went on to start two other matches, including the regular season finale to help the Revs secure their first playoff berth since 2009.
The 25-year-old defender was a four-year starter for New England and started each of the first four matches before his diagnosis, finishing the season with six starts in nine appearances.
Alston received 35.42-percent of the club votes, 48.05-percent of the media votes and 16.34-percent of the player votes. He led runner-up Conor Casey in the club and media votes, but finished third behind Sounders FC forward Lamar Neagle and Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts in the player votes. Neagle finished third in the overall vote. Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson won the award in 2012.
PORTER WINS COACH OF THE YEAR
After leading the Portland Timbers to their first playoff appearance in club history, Caleb Porter was named MLS Coach of the Year on Monday. Porter lifted the Timbers from a 8-16-10 record in 2012 before his arrival to a 14-5-15 record this year – a 23-point turnaround that had Portland with the best record in the Western Conference.
Porter finished with 58.44-percent of the media vote, 37.23-percent of the player votes and 30.61-percent of the club votes – even with runner-up Mike Petke from the New York Red Bulls. Porter’s total of 126.28 was over 40 points better than Petke, while Real Salt Lake’s Jason Kreis and Colorado’s Oscar Pareja finished a distant third and fourth.