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Najar named MLS Rookie of the Year

Andy Najar 1 (


D.C. United midfielder Andy Najar has been named the 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year. Najar beat out New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream and Philadelphia Union striker Danny Mwanga for the honors.

Najar flourished as the best player on a terrible D.C. United squad, showing impressive attacking qualities and finishing the season with five goals and one assist. The 17-year-old D.C. United academy product wowed fans and opponents with his fearless style and dynamic qualities.

Najar edged out Tim Ream, who started all 30 games and was the best defender on a New York Red Bulls side that won the Eastern Conference regular season title.

What do you think of the selection? Who would you have voted for?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I would *expect* a 17-year-old with superb skills to make an impact on a pathetic team. I would *not* expect a defender w/only college experience to make as much of an impact as Ream did. Not only did he play every game, but he also stabilized a defense that was horrid the previous season and played with unusual intelligence and grace, as evidenced by the small number of fouls he committed. This is clearly a case of flash over substance.

    BTW, as a soccer reporter who voted on the awards, I didn’t even put Najar on my ballot. Here’s who I voted for:

    1. Ream. 2. Mwanga. 3. Sean Johnson (who demonstrated athleticism and tremendous poise in taking over the Fire’s net in midseason).

  2. If I could only choose 1 player (Ream or Najar) four our MNT, it would be Najar.

    Short term, Ream fits a needed spot while Najar would be in a crowded midfield.

    Long term- players like Najar come around once in a while for us. Think Dempsey/Donovan type special.

    Ream may become a Bocanegra or something like that, but Najar is special, period.

    – NYRB / CLB Crew fan (lived both places growing up)

  3. It appears that the widespread intrigue in his development and flashes of brilliance from Najar swayed the voters. Tim Ream and Danny Mwanga are both absolutely deserving of the award, but neither got the type of national media attention that Najar did.
    As is the case with most sports awards, the popular/sexy pick won the day.

    Congratulations to Andy Najar. He’s still a very deserving recipient.

  4. Me happy that an argument about which of multiple rookies had the best impact season/Rookie of the Year/national team future exists now in US soccer

    That said, I think if you asked every GM who they’d pay more to have perform the past season on their team, I think you’d hear a majority say Ream. Who’s gonna have the brightest future? No idea. Both very good players.

  5. Luckily for Najar MLS voters dont have the same NJ Red Metros bias as SBI.

    Ream was a defender with good offensive skill, but his actual defensive skills were lacking.

  6. if it was most valuable to the team, Najar would win, wouldn’t he? Ream was certainly important, but on a great squad. Without Najar, DC had nothing. If I’m broke, a quarter is more valuable to me than a five dollar bill is to a rich man…

  7. this is weird. i just had deja-vu while reading through these comments! no joke.

    anyway, as a United fan, this is cool. not sure if i think it is the right choice, but he’s a good player.

  8. all you crying red bull fans who gloated that le toux wasnt even nominated for mvp should now know that mls award’s are a joke.

  9. I think Ream had a great season. Starting every game isn’t something to sneeze at. But basically, other than a few early season games (where Najar was being used as a striker and A-mid), Najar started very game that he was eligible for other than due to injury or yellow card accumulation. I’m not arguing his minutes or games were equal to Ream. My hat goes off to ANY player who starts every game of a long, physically tough season. It’s even more impressive for a rookie.

    But to argue that Ream has more impact is really to emphasize the wrong point. Najar had far more impact. He was the ONLY player that consistently created danger, chances and opportunities for teammates. He was the only consistent threat that opposing teams had to address. Would you argue that Ream was the only defensive talent on RBNY? Or that he’s a better player than Marquez?

    Najar was voted MVP of DC United this season. That wasn’t “best player” but “most valuable player.” Ream had an outstanding season. But he’s not the reason (or even one of the top 3 reasons) why RBNY finished first.

    Najar is a rare player, not just b/c he’s 17 y.o. He’s rare b/c of the impact he has on matches, and his composure and ability to play within the team at any position he’s been in (including defender).

  10. not practically, he actually played every minute of every league match this season, sharing the honor with only Drew Moor.

    a staggering feat for a rookie centrehalf.

  11. I’m a Red Bull lifer and as dissapointed as anyone that Ream didn’t win. But I’m more disappointed in the people that are saying this is a joke or undeserved or anything of the sort. Any one of these 3 players makes a fine ROY. What a good problem to have for a growing league when there isn’t an argument against any of them.

    A real joke will be if MLS gives Henry newcomer of the year. As long as that doesn’t happen I think every award winner will be deserving, whether they played for your favorite team or not.

  12. The three finalists are all excellent players — a real credit to MLS. I hope we can hold on to them.

    There’s no need to bash any of these guys, even given the obvious team loyalties on display here. (Full disclosure: I am a proud but suffering DC United supporter.)

    And to those suggesting there’s a MLS agenda at work: The award is voted on by league players, coaches, media, and GM’s. Are you suggesting that they are all in on the plan, or are you saying the vote was rigged (cheating)?

  13. Well in that case with or without Najar DC would have had a terrible season. It is debatable whether RBNY would have won the conference championship without Ream.

  14. Tim Ream with 6! years of age and 3 full years of college over Andy has less skill and talent than a still in high school Najar who is not even physically a man yet? I can understand disagreeing with the decision but you’re just trolling/dumb with that statement.

  15. Most Valuable implies that particular team would be exponentially worse, if said player was not on that particular team.

    Whereas Rookie of the Year is a simple comparison, if possible between each nominated player.

  16. The award is not for rookie with the most potential or rookie getting the most interest from Europe. Ream may be a bust internationally for all any of us know; but, that isn’t relevant to what he did THIS year.

    Aden, there were only two field players that participated in every minute in the entire league and you think that is irrelevant to whether or not he was an excellent player, especially for a rookie. Moreover, that wasn’t the entire basis of my argument in any event. He also played a significant role in a quality defense.

    By the way, I am not out in left field, to use a baseball terms. Ives thought he was more than “pretty good”.

  17. Anybody claiming conspiracy on this one or saying Najar is anything less than worthy has not watched him on a consistent basis. While it is awfully hard to watch DC play these days, he has been nothing short of electrifying. Tim Ream will probably dominate the Defender of the Year awards in the near future, but Najar will not be contained by MLS for very long.

    It’s fine to value Ream, particularly if you are a Red Bull supporter, but get some perspective.

  18. Hate, hate, hate!
    That all this forum is becoming.
    How can Andy Najar not be the Best rookie this year. He was the obvious choice.

  19. Just a small observation for all those saying “so what.. Ream played a lot on a first place team, what’s that matter?”

    NY finished first in the east. Tim Ream came on as a rookie, beat out several far more senior and experienced defenders and started every game all year.

    Again.. he _earned_ the start on the eastern conference’s _first_ place team and did so by beating out other players.

    To say “I don’t see what the minutes mean” is to ignore that, as a defender, there is little other metrics to judge by. He became a corner stone for the defense of a team with more than 10 shut outs. That’s why it matters.

    (an aside to an earlier poster… Najar had 5 goals for DC, not 7. That’s a quarter of the goals, which is still impressive, but not as impressive at a third.)

  20. 1. This was an excellent rookie class. I thought 2009 was the best ever and 2010 trumped it. And the 3 best contenders (Mwanga, Ream and Najar) were all excellent candidates of a top-rate class. I have no problem with any of those 3 winning ROY because, quite frankly, each had a superb rookie season.

    2. I think it’s a shame to try and boost the case for one player by denigrating the others. Any team in MLS would love to have all 3 or any of the 3 of those players.

    3. Here’s why I think Najar was a deserving choice (which doesn’t make Ream a bad player or a bad choice–as I said, I think he’d have been a fine ROY).
    –Najar demonstrated an amazingly polished game. I think people who haven’t seen him much assume “17 y.o., probably fast with some flash.” Read what Steve Davis says about him: about how he tracks back on defense, fights for balls, connected well with teammates, made smart runs off the ball. I personally think that Najar demonstrated the most complete game (on both sides of the ball) and widest range of skills of the 3 (and I have tremendous respect for Mwanga and Ream in that regard–neither is one-dimensional). Najar at various points this season played striker, A-mid, outside back and his customary outside mid.
    –The argument that Najar looked good b/c he was on DC United is laughable. DCU was the worst team in MLS this year. It was offensively futile. B/c soccer is a team game, it’s very hard to look impressive (other than just from pure skills or athleticism) if the rest of the team sucks badly. Opposing coaches and Onalfo and then Olsen pretty much admitted that they needed Najar to be the offensive catalyst: not just to make a flashy move or lovely individual play, but to help unlock defenses and to set up teammates and create chances.
    –I think all 3 of these players helped make their teams better. Ream is a huge contributor who has played well and gotten tons of minutes–a real workhorse who has been a part of a stable defense. I think Mwanga has been a critical 12th man who comes in to run at players in the second half and had an amazing string of GWGs or match tying goals. But make a list of the top 3 players in terms of impact for RBNY and I wouldn’t have Ream on that list. I wouldn’t have Mwanga on the list of top 3 players for Philly (unless you were just talking potential). Najar was DCU’s MVP for the season. Without him, as hard as it is to believe, they’d clearly have been worse. I don’t doubt that without Ream or Mwanga, their respective teams would have been worse too.

    I hope we see Najar in the USMNT jersey. Right now, not potentially, but right now, he shows both a composure and an inventiveness with the ball that is better than all but about 4 or 5 players currently on the US side. At 17.

  21. Dude, Najar was a starter for the DCU throughout most of the season, played both ends of the field, displayed dazzling technical skills, and tormented the opposing defenses. Put him on the same squad with Angel, Henry, Marquez, Richards, etc. and he would also be on a title contending team. Ream had a nice season, but you are delusional if you think he is a better player than Najar.

  22. which is why, of course, that the rumor mills are lighting up with clubs interested in Ream, right? figure the phone is ringing in Harrison with clubs interested in him? he’s a great MLS rookie, but at 23, the window is closing internationally, even for a centerback (who besides keepers have the longest careers) I hope he has a great career, I hope he shows well in the January camp and starts getting some international experience. he has solid international potential, but it needs to start like now.

  23. I keep hearing how good Ream is, and I believe it, but the only evidence I keep hearing is how “he played every minute for NYRB this year.” I don’t understand why that’s supposed to be so impressive. Darius Barnes played every minute for the Revs last year, and he wasn’t a serious ROTY candidate (nor should he have been). RedBull’s defense was good this year, but hardly the best. So I’m interested to hear an actual case made for Ream that doesn’t rely on minutes played.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was surprised Najar got it as well–not because he isn’t talented (he is) but just because it is hard to make the case that he made a real stamp on the league. I thought Mwanga would take it, frankly. But I learned a long time ago to not get all aggro about meaningless awards.

  24. i knew tim ream wouldn’t get it. Najar deserved it more. Ives i wont say i told u so. great rookie class but najar stood out the most

  25. exactly. as an idea, do a a mental comparison. if Tim Ream played at RFK, with that defense and midfield, even as good as he is, would he be in the running?

    What about Najar in New Jersey? in the running, probably not (given the depth at midfield, he’d have trouble playing much) but if he had the same minutes and numbers on NYRB, he’d still be a frontrunner.

  26. I would have voted for Ream. I felt his body of work on a first place team, playing every minute put him head and shoulders above the other candidates. Andy Najar is certainly not undeserving, he had a fantastic season, but for me, I thought Ream was more deserving.

  27. I don’t understand how anyone can be the best rookie and not the most valuable. Anyone can look good on such a terrible DC squad, so of course Najar is going to look like a terrific player (and he is, just not nearly as good as Tim Ream).

  28. This is a double fail. Najar was great but he did nothing to make that team better. Ream is the cornerstone of an NYRB defense that is leading its playoff series and Mwanga was at times unstoppable up top with Le Toux. This is ridiculous and as a Union supporter I would rather have seen this go to Ream than Najar.

  29. I knew Ives would be upset when his favorite Red Bull got denied. But Najar is the better player..plain and simple.

    (SBI-Settle down Thorpinski. Nobody’s “upset”, just disagreeing. And the award is for best season, not best player.)

  30. Without Tim Ream RBNY does not win the East. Without Najar DC still sucks. That is why Ream should have won. He was way more valuable to his team. I know it’s ROTY and not RMVP but to me, that is ROTY.

  31. If Najar committs to the USMNT people will be doing cart-wheels in the office. If Ream never makes an appearance for the Nat.’s no biggie Najar is a rare talent Ream is not ..get over it..

    and unlike the Seattle fans box stuffing Najar won on his own merit.

  32. No one knows how to bitch about something that doesn’t matter than a Red Bulls fan. I guess it’s because they’ve never won something that actually matters…


    (SBI-Start bringing something to the convo besides trolling my friend. Your history of comments isn’t looking too impressive or constructive.)

  33. I stopped reading at “(i.e. he didn’t start every game but met any sensible minimum limits for consideration.)” What does that even mean? Sensible to whom? Didn’t Ives mention the awards may have been influenced by mid-season voting? In any event, Ream started from beginning to end. He was an integral part of a completely rebuilt squad that went from worst to first! Think about that. The difficulty of playing defense on such a team has completely been lost here, people only see the end result & that Marquez helped a few games (though he didn’t show up till past mid season) & that Hans had ‘schemes’. Horse manure. Ream was easily the most consistent, most composed, most reliable, and least exciting rookie (to outsiders) all season b/c he’s not flashy and not a scorer. However, on top of all of that, he also did manage to make the players around him better (see Mendes, Carlos). Does Najar compare? Not saying Andy wasn’t a great candidate, kid’s got skills. Just not the best candidate. Ream seems like the kind of guy that wouldn’t let this award bug him. But inside, for any competetive player, I’ve gotta believe it’ll be extra motivation.

  34. Ream was pretty good? He played every minute of every MLS game on the best team in the East — a team that had 13 shutouts. He was excellent virtually the entire year. He showed his quality long before Marquez ever showed up.

    Try a different rationalization for a poor choice for ROY.

  35. Or you could argue that playing so well on an absolute crap team says more about Najar than slotting into a team with all kinds of talent and skill. I guess you can see it both ways in my opinion. I watched more of Najar’s games and I think he was one of the most dynamic players in all of MLS despite having no help and teams were able to key off him because of how bad DCU’s overall attack was.

  36. Funny that the only place I am seeing such outrage over Tim Ream not winning is SBI.

    Najar was incredible on the worst team in the league.

    Ream was pretty good on the best team in the league, with Rafa Marquez playing in front of him.

    Seems like a no brainer to me.


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