Major League Soccer

MLS announces 2021 year-end awards finalists

Lizzy Becherano
MLS announces finalists for end of the year awards
MLS announces finalists for end of the year awards / Ira L. Black - Corbis/GettyImages
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Major League Soccer has announced their finalists for the 2021 year-end awards, honoring the top performers on and off the field during the regular season. 

The finalists are spread across 15 clubs. Among the coveted awards is the prestigious Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Award, given to one player who played a substantial role in the team’s success. 

Young Player of the Year appears to be the most competitive award this year, with Ricardo Pepi, Julián Araujo and Tajon Buchanan fighting for the title. The three have been individual standouts for their sides, inspiring a fierce race.

Here are the finalists...


Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player Finalists

  • Valentín Castellanos (New York City FC)
  • Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)
  • João Paulo (Seattle Sounders FC)
  • Dániel Sallói (Sporting Kansas City)

Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year Finalists

  • Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
  • Matt Turner (New England Revolution)
  • Joe Willis (Nashville SC)

Defender of the Year Finalists

  • Yeimar Gómez (Seattle Sounders FC)
  • Miles Robinson (Atlanta United)
  • Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)

Newcomer of the Year Finalists

For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player who made his MLS debut in 2021.

  • Cristian ‘Chicho’ Arango (Los Angeles Football Club)
  • Ryan Gauld (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
  • Eduardo ‘Chofis’ López (San Jose Earthquakes)

MLS Young Player of the Year Finalists

For this award, “young player” is defined as a player age 22 (born on or after Jan. 1, 1999).

  • Julián Araujo (LA Galaxy)
  • Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution)
  • Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas)

Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

  • Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Javier "Chicharito" Hernández (LA Galaxy)
  • Dániel Sallói (Sporting Kansas City)

MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Finalists

  • Julián Araujo (LA Galaxy)
  • Justin Morrow (Toronto FC)
  • Brad Stuver (Austin FC)

Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year Finalists

  • Bruce Arena (New England Revolution)
  • Robin Fraser (Colorado Rapids)
  • Brian Schmetzer (Seattle Sounders FC)

Referee of the Year Finalists

  • Jair Marrufo
  • Robert Sibiga
  • Armando Villarreal

Assistant Referee of the Year Finalists

  • Frank Anderson
  • Ian Anderson
  • Cory Richardson
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