Last week I concentrated on who should be the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and following in line with end of the season awards, I choose to focus on the newbies to the MLS this season this week.
As the MLS continues to grow, it is fun watching players like DeAndre Yedlin and Bradley Wright-Phillips take off and this year was no exception. With that said, I bring to you my 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year nominee.
Patrick Mullins : New England Revolution
The 22 year old New Orleans native has made a name for himself in his first year playing in the MLS helping add depth to a once struggling New England Revolution side. The Revs are back in the playoffs for the second season in a row and this year was no fluke. The first round draft pick has found the back of the net four times in 19 caps and consistently been a threat with 16 shots on goal. It's safe to say with guys like Mullins around, the Revs will continue to be MLS Cup contenders for years to come.
Harry Shipp : Chicago Fire
Following down the same path as players like DeAndre Yedlin, Harry Shipp signed with the Chicago Fire as a homegrown player in 2014. The Illinois native has easily been the silver lining to the otherwise gloomy cloud that has been Chicago Fire's 2014 season. His six goals and six assists over 31 caps shows a level of maturity that you don't always find in rookies. Mix that with a high level of discipline (only nine fouls committed and no cards) and you definitely have the makings of a future star.
It's exciting to imagine what the young midfielder could have done if he was surrounded by a better team, but on the other hand, the lack of talent in Chicago has also given Shipp more of a chance to shine. I definitely can't wait to see what is in store for Shipp next season.
Tesho Akindele : FC Dallas
Leading rookies most of the year in goals, Tesho Akindele was the early favorite to take Rookie of the Year honors with just about everyone. FC Dallas has had a streaky season, much like every FC Dallas season, but one thing that has remained constant is Akindele's poise as a forward whether he starts the game or comes off of the bench.
The Calgary, Alberta native who was drafted sixth overall has managed to tickle the twine seven times this season while assisting on three goals as well. There is no doubt the youngster has given Big D hope and now will have a chance to help his squad to an MLS Cup after clinching a berth this month.
So who is my pick for Rookie of the Year? For me it is Harry Shipp, he has shown a ton of maturity on the pitch all season and I really do believe he has the brightest future out of the three. He's a hard working midfielder who makes great choices that keep him out of referee's book and what is not to love about that?