Philadelphia Union Midfielder Chris Pontius Wins MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award
Midfielder records career-best campaign in first season with Union
CHESTER, Pa. (Nov. 16, 2016) – Major League Soccer today announced that Philadelphia Union midfielder Chris Pontius has won the 2016 MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award. In his first season with Philadelphia, Pontius tied his career best in goals with 12 while adding a personal single-season best six assists just two years removed from multiple hamstring surgeries that limited his playing time during the 2014 campaign. He also set single-season career bests in appearances (33), starts (32) and minutes played (2,571) this year.
Voted upon by MLS club management, media, and current players, the award honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity to achieve success during the 2016 regular season. Pontius was joined as a finalist by Frank Lampard (New York City FC) and Kevin Molino (Orlando City SC) for the award.
Pontius joined the Union ahead of the 2016 season via trade from D.C. United. Formerly of the University of California, Santa Barbara, the midfielder appeared in a career-best 33 matches for Philadelphia this season. His 12 goals led the club while tying for the most scored by an American player in MLS this year, and his six assists were tied for second among all Union players. He was named MLS Player of the Week in Week 14 after scoring a goal and adding an assist in Philadelphia’s 3-2 victory over Columbus.
The midfielder becomes the first Philadelphia player to ever be named MLS Comeback Player of the Year as well as the third member of the Union to ever capture a year-end MLS award, joining Keegan Rosenberry (2016 MLS Fair Play Award) and Sebastien Le Toux (2010 MLS Best XI, 2010 and 2011 MLS Fair Play Award).
Other Major League Soccer year-end awards are slated to be announced in the coming days. Union goalkeeper Andre Blake is a finalist for Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year.
MLS Comeback Player of the Year – All-Time Winners:
2016: Chris Pontius – Philadelphia Union
2015: Tim Melia – Sporting Kansas City
2014: Rodney Wallace – Portland Timbers
2013: Kevin Alston – New England Revolution
2012: Eddie Johnson – Seattle Sounders FC
2011: David Beckham – LA Galaxy
2010: Bobby Convey – San Jose Earthquakes
2009: Zach Thornton – Chivas USA
2008: Kenny Cooper – FC Dallas
2007: Eddie Johnson – Kansas City Wizards
2006: Richard Mulrooney – FC Dallas
2005: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
2004: Brian Ching – San Jose Earthquakes
2003: Chris Armas – Chicago Fire
2002: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
2001: Troy Dayak – San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA UNION
Philadelphia was awarded the 16th Major League Soccer franchise on Feb. 28, 2008 and the Union were officially named on May 11, 2009. Owned and operated by Keystone Sports and Entertainment, LLC, the group launched the Philadelphia Union's inaugural season on March 25, 2010 and opened Talen Energy Stadium on June 27. Throughout the club’s seven-year history, the Union have reached the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in 2014 and 2015, and have also reached the MLS playoffs in 2011. In 2016, the Union opened their seventh year at Talen Energy Stadium, a soccer-specific stadium that has hosted internationally known clubs Celtic, Chivas de Guadalajara, Everton, Schalke 04, Aston Villa, Pumas UNAM, Stoke City, Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth. For more information about Philadelphia Union, visit www.philadelphiaunion.com