2011 Crew Team Awards Ceremony Winners
Jim Nelson Columbus Crew Fan of the Year
Fan of the Year – Randy Sims
Randy Sims of Charleston, West Virginia has spent the last 6 seasons traveling 330 miles roundtrip to attend games. In addition to making the trek for home games this season, Randy has made away matches in Salt Lake, Colorado and will be in Chicago for the Crew’s regular season finale. Randy cancelled trips to Houston and Philadelphia as the games took a back seat when his father lost his battle with cancer. Randy returned home to Crew Stadium to Blackout the Galaxy with his fellow Crew fans and has made friends in Columbus and across the league with his friendly smile and ability to debate soccer. Randy strives to ensure that everyone enjoys their visit to Crew Stadium and welcomes them as family either as a Crew fan or foe. Randy is a truly MASSIVE fan.
Alice Potter saw her first Crew game in 2004 when she moved to Columbus. Alice was immediately hooked and became a season ticket holder for the 2005 season. Alice didn’t miss a match from 2005-2010 as the passion for “her boys” grew. Unfortunately 2011 brought health complications for Alice, but even that could not keep her away from Crew Stadium. She endured the cold of February’s CONCACAF match as well as other games during the early part of the season. Recently Alice has been unable to attend games but has remained MASSIVE in her support of the Crew as she listens on the radio. Alice’s commitment and loyalty to the Crew represents what every fan should aspire to be. She is truly an inspiration to all Crew fans.
MLS W.O.R.K.S./U.S. Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year
Tommy Heinemann has been selected the Crew’s US Soccer Foundation Humanitarian of the Year because of his services to the community away from the field of play. Heinemann exemplifies the Crew’s dedication to excellence both on and off the field. An outspoken advocate of community service, Heinemann took time to visit the pediatric hospital patients and got involved with the Down Syndrome Association’s Buddy Walk during his first season in Columbus. He is also an enthusiastic participant in Crew Soccer Foundation’s Goal for Kids school assembly program, which focuses on using soccer as a vehicle to encourage positive life choices and has volunteered for faith mission and United Way projects.
CSF Crew Chiefs Hardest Working Man - Robbie Rogers
Dynamic midfield Robbie Rogers is your Crew Soccer Foundation Crew Chiefs Hardest Working Man of the Year. His speed and elusiveness make him a constant target of opposing defenders, but he battles through the punishment to put in tireless work up and down the flanks and throughout the field. Rogers leads the Crew in assists and his outstanding play has kept him firmly in the US National Team picture.
Fan’s Choice Award- Emilio Renteria
Once again this year, fans were invited to vote for this award at TheCrew.com, and the winner of the 2011 Fans’ Choice award is forward Emilio Renteria. Despite battling injuries over the course of the season, Renteria was a force to be reckoned with when he was in the lineup, scoring seven goals in just 16 games, to rank second on the team. That production, coupled with creative goal celebrations, tireless work rate and a ready smile, make him a true fan favorite.
Grand Rapids Crew Juniors
The Crew’s youth partner in Western Michigan, the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors, made history in 2011 by becoming the first MLS affiliate to win a USYS National Championship. The Crew’s first youth affiliate joined the Crew family in 2007 and it was quickly apparent that the then-U14 team was special. Led by Head Coach DFJSLKF: and Director of Coaching Josh Sheldon, they advanced to the first of 4 consecutive berths in the USYS National Championship in 2008. This remarkable run culminated this summer in a thrilling 5-4 PK shootout win over the Penn Fusion. The Columbus Crew congratulate the Grand Rapids Crew Juniors on this outstanding accomplishment.
CSA U15/16 Player of the Year - Zach Mason
In his first year with the Crew Soccer Academy U15/U16, Zach Mason became the unquestioned leader and most valuable player over the course of the season. Playing as both a centerback and defensive midfielder, Mason was the anchor in the Crew’s run to the US Soccer Development Academy Great Lakes Championship. His ability, athleticism, and relentless work ethic both on and off the field have helped propel Zach to a scholarship to The Ohio State University for the fall of 2012. During the high school season thus far, Zach has led Big Walnut high school to an undefeated regular season, the first in school history. Following the high school season, Zach will be a key to a very deep and talented CSA U17/18 team’s fortunes.
CSA U17/18 Player of the Year - Connor Klekota
Amherst native Connor Klekota has made remarkable progress in the Crew’s youth system over the past three years, culminating in being named the CSA U17/18 player of the year as a junior. His path began on a Crew Junior Gold Team in 2009 and he rose steadily by becoming one of the most consistent, committed and talented players in the system. In starting all 26 matches as the anchor in the midfield, Connor scored 4 goals and was instrumental in leading CSA to a Development Academy playoffs again. His leadership will be invaluable to an excellent U17/18 core returning for the 2011-12 season. An outstanding student, Connor will then head to Notre Dame in the fall of 2012.
CSA U19/20 Player of the Year - Matt Walker
Cincinnati native Matt Walker is perhaps the best example of how the Crew’s youth system is designed to work for outstanding youth players outside of Columbus. The Crew’s youth partner in Cincinnati, the CUP Crew Juniors, identified Matt as the best player in their system and ready for the Crew Soccer Academy level two years ago. During Matt’s first year in CSA, where he had success with both the U18s and U20s, he quickly became one of the most dynamic and dangerous players in the country. After helping lead Xavier to the university’s first ever Atlantic-10 championship as a freshman, Matt returned for his second year with the Crew and was critical in the U20s run to a second consecutive National Championship.
OhioHealth Comeback Player of the Year - Danny O'Rourke
OhioHealth is proud to present its Comeback Player of the Year Award to midfield Danny O’Rourke who returned from season ending knee surgery in 2010 to once again become a gritty contributor for the Black & Gold. After 10 months of grueling rehab, the Crew’s MVP in 2009 made his first start of the season on September 14th and immediately returned to his versatile role in his trademark gritty, hard nose style. His leadership and toughness have continued to make him an asset wherever he is needed in the defensive 3rd during this season’s stretch.
Crew Newcomer of the Year - Sebastian Miranda
Sebastian Miranda is the Crew’s 2011 Newcomer of the Year. The veteran defender from Chile has been everything club brass could have hoped for when they signed him after last season. He has been the constant presence at right back for the Black & Gold following a stellar 9 year career in the top leagues of Chile and Austria. Starting every game and playing all but 16 minutes, his composure, poise and professionalism have helped him stabilize the Crew’s back line and he has contributed 2 assists.
Crew Coaches Award - Eddie Gaven
The 2011 Coaches Award is presented to Eddie Gaven. Presented to the Crew coaching staff this award is presented to the player they consider to be the most coachable and to posses all the characteristics of a true team player, including attitude and work ethic. Now in his 6th season in Columbus and the club’s MVP last year, Gaven is a steady and tireless presence on the wings who has become one of the club’s most effective offensive weapons. Always willing to do the work and sacrifice his body, he has been among the league leaders in fouls suffered all season despite missing 8 games due to injury. With his diligent work rate and team-first mentality, Eddie Gaven is your Crew Coaches Award Winner.
Crew Defender of the Year - Julius James
Julius James has been a revelation in his first season in Columbus and he is your 2011 Crew Defender of the Year. Signed just prior to the start of the season, James immediately stepped into a starting role and formed a formidable partnership with Chad Marshall in central defense. The Trinidad and Tobago international started every game for which he was available, constantly providing strong athletic defending with excellent timing and he scored the game winning goal against New England on August 13th.
Columbus Crew Man of the Year - Jeff Cunningham
The Crew Man of the Year award is presented to the player who embodies an exceptional sense of leadership, civic pride, family values and community service. Major League Soccer’s All-Time Leading Goal Scorer is just such a standout on and off the field. Jeff Cunningham has worked with youth at the St. Stephen’s Community House and he donated the jersey he wore when he scored his record-breaking goal to a Crew Soccer Foundation fundraiser. He also gives of his time and experience after training, regularly working with his young teammates, leading by example and passing along what he has learned over the course of his long, superlative career.
Crew Budweiser Golden Boot Award - Andres Mendoza
The Crew’s leading goal scorer for 2011 is forward Andres Mendoza. In his first full MLS season, the Peruvian striker has found the back of the net 13 times to rank in the top 3 in the league for much of the campaign. Mendoza had 4 multi-goal games and 4 game winning goals while also leading the club in shots and shots on goal. With the ability to create shots in tight spaces, a lethal left foot and a strikers mentality, Mendoza is always a threat to find the back of the net.
Goal of the Year - Jeff Cunningham
It has to be #134… Crew forward Jeff Cunningham entered the record books on August 27th, becoming Major League Soccer’s All-Time Leading Goal Scorer with the 134th goal of his stellar 14 year career. Cunningham’s record breaking goal came on a penalty kick in the 59th minute in Seattle. The penalty was awarded when Emilio Renteria was tackled in the box by Seattle’s Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Cunningham stepped to the spot and coolly converted with poise and authority past Sounder keeper Kasey Keller.
Crew Most Valuable Player - Chad Marshall
A two-time MLS Defender of the Year and MLS Best XI selection, Chad Marshal can now add Crew Most Valuable Player to his long list of accolades. A big, athletic defender in his first season as the Crew’s captain, Marshall has consistently frustrated the efforts of the opposition’s attack thanks to his aerial dominance, well-timed tackles and overall presence. Marshall, who has started every game for which he has been available, also utilizes his size and leaping ability to give the Crew another dangerous offensive weapon on set pieces. Few players in the league command the same level of attention and respect as your 2011 Crew Most Valuable Player, Chad Marshall.