[MLS AWARDS]Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri, who led MLS with 13 assists, has been named the 2013 Newcomer of the Year, marking the third year in a row the award went to an Argentine.
Valeri, who succeeds 2011 winner Mauro Rosales of Seattle and 2012 winnerFederico Higuain of Columbus, also led the Timbers with 10 goals after arriving from Lanus, and he was a key factor in their first-place finish in the Western Conference that earned them their first playoff berth. He is the first Portland player to score in double digits in either goals or assists.
The Timbers announced Wednesday that Valeri, who was slowed in the playoffs, had undergone a successful bilateral sports hernia repair performed by doctors in Santa Monica, Calif. The expected recovery time is 4-6 weeks.
Following his early success, the Timbers purchased his contract outright from Lanus. His signing was part of an MLS program to provide financial support for teams acquiring exceptional No. 9 or No. 10 players.
Valeri beat out MLS Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves of the New England Revolution, the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Nigel Reo-Coker and Colorado goalie Clint Irwin, who had spent the 2012 season in USL PRO.
MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners:
2013: Diego Valeri – Portland Timbers
2012: Federico Higuain – Columbus Crew
2011: Mauro Rosales – Seattle Sounders FC
2010: Alvaro Saborio – Real Salt Lake
2009: Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC
2008: Darren Huckerby – San Jose Earthquakes
2007: Luciano Emilio – D.C. United