November 28, Columbus Crew’s Federico Higuaín was named 2012 MLS Newcomer of the Year.
There was hot competiton for the award from San Jose’s Victor Bernardez, Seattle’s Michael Gspurning, Vancouver’s Young-Pyo Lee and Houston’s Boniek Garcia, but Higuain and fellow Crew newcomer Jairo Arrieta turned Columbus around from a defensive team to an attacking team in short order, no small task.
Signed on July 27 as the Columbus Crew’s third Designated Player in club history, the Argentine Higuaín arrived in Columbus in mid-August and made an immediate impact. He recorded three goals and six assists in his first five MLS matches, ending the season with a total of 13 appearances, five goals and seven assists.
“I’m very honored to receive the Newcomer of the Year Award,” said Higuaín. “I would like to thank all the people who voted, the players from other clubs, the MLS clubs’ coaching staffs and front offices and the media.
I only played 13 games this season and I hope next season to do better.”
The Argentinean forward began his career at River Plate in 2003 before landing at Colón, where he spent two seasons prior to signing with the Crew. Higuain comes from a renowned soccer family as his father, Jorge, played for several of the top clubs in Argentina and his younger brother, Gonzalo, is one of the premier forwards for Real Madrid and Argentina’s national team.
The Newcomer of the Year honors the player who is in his first season in Major League Soccer, but has prior professional experience, making him ineligible for Rookie of the Year honors.
The award was voted on by media, MLS players and MLS club management based on regular season performance. Below is a breakdown of the voting for the top five candidates:
Player % Club Votes % Media Votes % Player Votes Weighted Total
Federico Higuain (CLB) 17.24 30.77 10.99 59.00
Victor Bernardez (SJ) 18.97 9.23 23.08 51.28
Michael Gspurning (SEA) 15.52 10.77 5.49 31.78
Young-Pyo Lee (VAN) 6.90 4.61 14.29 25.80
Boniek Garcia 12.10 4.61 7.69 24.40
MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners:
2012: Federico Higuaín – 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
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