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Mwanga, SA's Rookie of the Year
by Ridge Mahoney, November 3rd, 2010 1:42AM

TAGS:  mls, philadelphia union


[MLS] Major League Soccer begins handing out its major awards Wednesday. Philadelphia Union forward Danny Mwanga is Soccer America's pick for Rookie of the Year.

Rookie of the Year Finalists:
Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia)
Andy Najar (D.C. United)
Tim Ream (New York)

Ream started from day one, got off to a great start, struggled through a few bad games and regained his poise and confidence down the stretch. Critics say he’s not as good as last year’s winner, Omar Gonzalez, also a defender; two years ago, another rookie defender, Sean Franklin, got the nod, and Ream is certainly better on the ball than him and most other young MLS defenders.

The other two candidates are attackers; Mwanga, a tall, powerful forward, and Najar a wonderfully gifted midfielder.

Neither put up dazzling numbers, with Mwanga scoring seven goals and Najar, a creator as much as a finisher, netting five.

Najar, 17, is a marvelous talent and a great selling point for the academy teams now fielded by all MLS teams. Mwanga left Oregon State after two seasons and at 19, obviously is teeming with potential.

Our pick: Mwanga. He battled for playing time with several other forwards and didn’t rely solely on size and strength; his touch and vision improved immensely in the second half of the season. He scored stoppage-time goals in three straight games after sitting out eight straight games.

  1. Kerry Ogden
    commented on: November 3, 2010 at 9:14 a.m.
    I'll have to disagree with Soccer America and the critics, as usual they are wrong, TIM REAM's is the best rookie of the yr, this should be a public vote not a critics vote. As usual politics play into this and after watching Mwanga and Najar play there is no way in HELL these players have done better than Tim R. all season. NYRB's went from last to first place this yr because of the sound play by Ream's, that is one feat neather DC United or Philly have had to over come!! As far as Omar Gonzalez, he's no where as good as Ream's. More Politics, LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE not Soccer America!!!!!!! At the beginning of the yr. Soccer America critics predicted NYRB would finish at the bottom of the pile, oh how wrong Soccer America critics were!!! and there wrong on the rookie of the yr awards.
  1. Daniel Suter
    commented on: November 3, 2010 at 11:12 a.m.
    I agree with your selection of Danny Mwanga as Player of the Year. He is a slick player with wonderful potential for the coming years. The Philadelphia Union organization must be proud and excited about this player. Now if we can just get sports announcers to pronounce his name correctly Danny will feel more at home and not be insulted on a regular basis. He is originally from the Congo-Kinshasa where the Mwanga name is common. His last name or family name is pronounced with only two syllables and there is no vowel immediately after the letter M. It is pronounced Mwa' -nga. . . . . not Ma-wa'-nga. Sports announcers might ask Danny how his name is pronounced. Daniel Suter

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