[MLS]Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez stood out in one of MLS's best rookie classes ever and captured the 2009 Rookie of the Year award. Gonzalez started and played all 30 of the Galaxy's regular-season games and helped the club improve its defense from the worst in 2008 to one of the best during the 2009 season.
The 21-year old defender out of the University of Maryland becomes the second consecutive Galaxy defender to win the award. Teammate Sean Franklin received the honor in 2008.
Gonzalez was the third overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and was thrust into the starting role at the center of the backline with veteran Gregg Berhalter.
The 6-foot-5 Texan ranked second among rookies with 2,672 minutes played, behind onlyDarrius Barnes (2,700 minutes) of the New England Revolution.
Gatorade Rookie of the Year Winners
2009: Omar Gonzalez - Los Angeles Galaxy
2008: Sean Franklin - Los Angeles Galaxy
2007: Maurice Edu - Toronto FC
2006: Jonathan Bornstein - Chivas USA
2005: Michael Parkhurst - New England Revolution
2004: Clint Dempsey - New England Revolution
2003: Damani Ralph - Chicago Fire
2002: Kyle Martino - Columbus Crew
2001: Rodrigo Faria - MetroStars
2000: Carlos Bocanegra - Chicago Fire
1999: Jay Heaps - Miami Fusion
1998: Ben Olsen - D.C. United
1997: Mike Duhaney - Tampa Bay Mutiny
1996: Steve Ralston - Tampa Bay Mutiny