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Akindele named 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year, Parkhurst takes home Fair Play award


Photo by Tim Heltman/USA TODAY Sports



One of the least heralded draft picks from the 2014 MLS Draft has taken home some end-of-season hardware.

FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele was named 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year after receiving the highest weighted total of votes split between the media, coaches, and players across the league.

Although he didn’t make his first start until early May, Akindele became a regular starter in the lineup for FC Dallas this season and was crucial in their late-season rresurgenceto lift them back to the MLS Cup playoffs. Akindele, a former star for the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers, finished the season with seven goals and three assists in 26 games played, 18 of them starts. Akindele was the sixth overall selection in the 2014 Draft.

Akindele beat out Harry Shipp, Steve Birnbaum, and Chris Duvall for the honors.

In addition to Rookie of the Year, MLS announced that Columbus Crew centerback Michael Parkhurst has received the 2014 Individual Fair Play Award and the Philadelphia Union has been given the 2014 Team Fair Play Award.

Parkhurst finished the season with just 11 fouls and two yellow cards while the Union earned the fewest amount of cards in MLS, finishing the year with 37 yellow cards and five red cards.


What do you think of these award decisions? Surprised that Akindele beat out Shipp?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I love Akindele and quite frankly any of these guys not winning shows just how great US soccer is getting.

    I pick Shipp. Figured it was a lock. Now I am worried about Marshall for defender of the year.

    • Sure, why not? A lot of awards go to creative or attacking players. Those stats for Parkhurst are very remarkable, especially for a defender.

    • I think that is what he is saying Frank, that you need to be a little more agressive.

      Columbus only giving up 42 goals probably says that he did both pretty well.

  2. dcu fan here, but thought it probably should’ve gone to birnbaum. his games this year (replacing jeff parke) coincided with dc’s great run of form, and he was a big reason for the league’s stingiest defense (along with la), which was dc’s greatest strength.

    not surprised if either tesho or harry would’ve won it since they’re attackers, but i didn’t think they were very consistent (as usual with younger players).

  3. Birnbaum and Shipp were both better choices than Akindele to me at least. Akindele looks super raw and easily drifts out of games.

  4. Shipp was robbed, badly .Tesho had a wonderful first season, especially for someone playing in May. But Shipp had a hat trick and became a regular starter for the Fire just after his third match. Tesho meanwhile didn’t start playing until May.

    Anybody knows what weighted total of votes means anyway? Wouldn’t you treat players, media, and coaches all equally?

    If you disagree, think about this: Tesho declined a call-up from the CanadaMNT in order to put his stock into USMNT. Now between Shipp and Tesho, who do you think has the better chance to receive a call up to Camp Cupcake in January? I’m sorry, but Shipp is the future Brad Davis and Tesho is just another Bunbury.

    • If Shipp is a future Brad Davis, keep him far far away. I’d rather have Bunbury on the outside for the USMNT than a useless Brad Davis.

      Just gonna wait for that 85th minute free kick on the right hand side, then you will all see how good Davis is!

      • I believe Shipp wasn’t benched out of performance. Shipp was benched because his body wasn’t used to the rigors of league play and USOC run. I still have to give Tesho more credit for that at least.

      • Hmm, that’s interesting that it could have been condition.
        I personal think this award is a bit weird. It doesn’t work for soccer as well as it does for other sports. I think it’s why other leagues use “best young player awards.”

        I’ll use Dallas cause I know them pretty well.
        Victor Ulloa only played one game before this season so he isn’t a rookie. But he would win the award over Akindele, Shipp, etc.

      • +1
        Ulloa this season (for me at least) was more of a breakout than Castillo. Fabian did a lot to improve on his previous seasons but Victor finally went from highly touted academy player/homegrown signing to a first team fixture.

    • Mr. C.

      If you are looking to relate the ROY award with relevancy to the USMNT here is the list of past winners:

      1996- Steve Ralston, Tampa Bay
      1997- Mike Duhaney, Tampa Bay
      1998- Ben Olsen, DC United
      1999- Jay Heaps, Miami
      2000- Carlos Bocanegra, Chicago
      2001- Rodrigo Faria, NY/NJ
      2002- Kyle Martino, Columbus
      2003- Damani Ralph, Chicago
      2004- Clint Dempsey, New England
      2005- Michael Parkhurst, New England
      2006- Jonathan Bornstein, Chivas USA
      2007- Maurice Edu, Toronto
      2008- Sean Franklin, LA
      2009- Omar Gonzalez, LA
      2010- Andy Najar, DC United
      2011- CJ Sapong, Sporting KC
      2012- Austin Berry, Chicago
      2013- Dillon Powers, Colorado
      2014- Teshi Akindele, FC Dallas

      I’d say Boca, Deuce, Bornstein, Mo Edu, and Gonzo, could be classified as USMNT regulars during their time and really, only Clint, Los and Bornstein won regular starting jobs. And for Clint and Los most of their caps came when they played in Europe.

      • I’m not implying that winning ROTY correlates to regular playing time on the national team roster. My question was if it were down to Tesho and Shipp, who would Klinsmann more likely call up to January? Not saying it’s going to happen because it’s rare for rookies to get that call up. ( It’s more common with MLS players that have a great season – IE Wondo 2013, Magee that short spell in 2014, and now Nguyen for January 2015.) My argument is that who has more of a foreseeable future for the national team: Shipp.

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