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Yallop named MLS Coach of the Year, Johnson wins Comeback Player Award

San Jose Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop helped turn the Earthquakes from pretenders to Supporters Shield winners in one season and he was rewarded for that achievement on Tuesday when he was named MLS Coach of the Year.

Yallop was the runaway winner, beating out the field by a wide margin. Sporting KC’s Peter Vermes and D.C. United’s Ben Olsen finished second and third respectively.

Seattle forward Eddie Johnson enjoyed an outstanding return to MLS in 2012, and his efforts helped earn him the 2012 MLS Comeback Player of the Year award. He edged out Chris Pontius for the honor, with Alan Gordon finishing third.

A quick thought- Johnson didn’t play in MLS last year, and didn’t overcome a major injury or illness, so his selection as Comeback Player is an odd one. Based on criteria, Pontius deserves it after overcoming a nasty leg break late in 2011 and playing his way onto the MLS Best XI in 2012.

Ultimately though, the Comeback Player Award remains a convoluted award that seems to always go to a candidate who just seems like a bit of an odd choice. As I have lobbied for a while now, MLS needs to drop the award and give an MLS Most Improved Player Award.

What do you think of these selections? Who would you have voted for?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I couldn’t be happier for Yallop. Especially after having to endure a lot of clueless fans calling for his head all last season. This after he won two freaking championships and coach of the year in our own city…made my blood boil. We were extremely fortunate to have him return as coach. All the success SJ has had in MLS is directly attributed to Yallop…end of story. The dude is pure class all the way round.

  2. yallop agree 100%.
    i would have selected pontious for the same reason mentined in the article. i am an EJ fan (i was actually a fan before he left MLS) but still believed pontious was more worthy. and you are correct in that mls should do away with this award.

  3. As far as Eddie Johnson is concerned, I agree that Gordon should have been comeback player of the year. Until this season, his career was mediocre, at best. Not until this season did he play a vital role on a championship-caliber team. That *has* to be worth something.

  4. I’m suprised that Martin Rennie didn’t get more votes for coach of the year. Frankly, I thought he should have won. He took an orgainzation that was in disarray in its first MLS season and not only got the team into the playoffs but built a solid foundation. Then again, I’m not surprised. Most people covering soccer are too conventionally minded and too into following the crowd (read: stupid) to think out of the box. Yallop won becaue of Bernardez and Chavez. Vermes had the same talent as the previous season. Olsen is the only one other than Rennie who deserved this award because of D.C.’s improvement from the previous season.

    • Are you kidding? Rennie (or that idiot Tommy Soehn) created a talented and deep Vancouver team that many thought would be one of the best in MLS… they were good and exciting to watch… and then halfway through the year they completely changed the roster and made them into one of the worst and most boring teams in MLS. So Rennie wins the first half award for Coach of the Year and the second half award for WORST Coach of the Year who brought in a bunch of crappy aging Scotsmen as DPs and backed into the playoffs.

    • Rennie blew up a team that was playing well early to mid-season and turned them into one of the league’s worst sides. Can’t see how that merits coach of the year consideration.

  5. I would say Gordon but he is perhaps a victim of Wondo MVP and also an emotional desire to backpat EJ even if this is like comeback 2.

    One being overlooked, to me, is Gonzo, that’s pretty spectacular coming back from a knee he “did” just this past winter. But then like Pontius, he’s been pretty consistent over time so it’s like you could almost have two separate awards, one for a comeback as in return to form, one for an improved player. Gordon and EJ are improvers, Pontius and Gonzo are returners.

    As with the Best XI I think the choices reflect regular season mentalities, and I understand that’s the concept. I think Arena is a harsh omit because even if you framed it within the regular season, he took a really bad spring team and got them to a decent playoff seed. And then if you broadened the perspective to include the playoffs, he has a lower seed LA team back in the final. People will say but SJ was so good in the regular season, but I always felt they were over-achieving, though maybe that is a coaching compliment.

    And then Olsen and Vermes, well they got outcoached by Kinnear in the playoffs, which I think defeats all meaning for their candidacies. Olsen’s compulsion to start injured players in game one of the Houston series had backfired on him by the second half of that game and basically snowballed the rest of the way. And Houston seems to expose Vermes’ 433 on an annual basis in the postseason, with him then having no seeming tactical response.

  6. Yeah, it’s a silly award in general, but the comeback award should clearly go to Pontius. Maybe they can make a new award, the “Best MLS Player that wasn’t good enough for Europe” award to give to Johnson.

  7. Just what did Eddie Johnson “come back” from? A failed stint in Europe? It’s not like he wasn’t good at the MLS level when he left the league.
    Plenty of guys came back from serious injuries this year, Zakuani, Pontius, Ferreira, Morales… or how about the guy who should have finished second behind Victor Bernardez for defender of the year, Jay DeMerit?

  8. after looking at the past winners of this award, just want to note that chris klein has won it twice (2002, 2005), which is either good, or bad. as you were.

  9. He had a great career in mls before, went to Europe and flopped miserably, CAME BACK to mls and has completely revived his career … That sounds like a great comeback to me. Not that difficult. Pontius is overrated.

    • I wouldn’t have given him the award because he’s a yoyo not a comebacker. I don’t know if it’s technical sharpness, effort level, commitment to fitness, or what, but he’s repeatedly done this yoyo thing of throwing a double digit goals season in the middle of a few years of dross. His vaunted KC campaign of 07 was off several bad FCD and KC seasons, after having had double digits before at Dallas. Extremely frustrating player. Credit to him for his US and Seattle season but this would be like comeback #2.

      I think it’s Alan Gordon. Recovering from the tibia to have another good season was impressive from Pontius, but he’s pretty consistent over time. But to me Gordon has bounced around and bam suddenly got his stuff together, even had the winning assist on the A&B game.


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