Major League Soccer has announced several year-end awards which acknowledge and recognise both outstanding individuals and clubs for contributions made away from the pitch.
Of the 23 awards determined by MLS and released from their offices in New York, 2017 expansion side Atlanta United lead the field with five awards (22%). Several clubs claimed two awards: Chicago Fire, New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers, Sporting Kansas City and Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Those receiving one award are: Toronto FC, Seattle Sounders, Columbus Crew, Philadelphia Union, D.C. United, New York City FC, Houston Dynamo and Orlando City.
This is the full award list:
- Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year – Darren Eales, Atlanta United
- Ticket Sales Executive of the Year – Don Rovak, Atlanta United
- Corporate Partnerships Executive of the Year – Chris Shewfelt, Toronto FC
- Marketing Executive of the Year – Sarah Kate Noftsinger, Atlanta United
- Ticket Sales Team of the Year – Seattle Sounders FC
- Corporate Partnerships Team of the Year – Portland Timbers
- Marketing Team of the Year – Atlanta United
- Marisa Colaiano Community Relations Club of the Year presented by MLS WORKS – New York Red Bulls
- Public Relations Team of the Year – Sporting Kansas City
- Club Retailer of the Year – Columbus Crew SC
- Platform Activation of the Year – Portland Timbers
- Business Analytics Team of the Year – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Enhanced Lead Scoring)
- Ticketing Sales Impact Award presented by the National Sales Center powered by SeatGeek – Chicago Fire (Outside Sales Program)
- Digital Team of the Year – Philadelphia Union
- Social Media Activation of the Year – D.C. United (Last Call at RFK)
- Digital Content Experience of the Year – Vancouver Whitecaps FC (Becoming Canadian: The Alphonso Davies Story)
- Best Use of Access in Content – Chicago Fire (Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Arrival)
- Security Team of the Year – Orlando City SC
- Operations Staff of the Year – New York Red Bulls
- Supporter Management Team of the Year – Sporting Kansas City
- Team Administrator of the Year presented by Sportscorp Travel – Manny Tejeda, Atlanta United
- Athletic Training Staff of the Year presented by Mueller Sports Medicine – Houston Dynamo
- Equipment Manager of the Year – Daniel Laroche, New York City FC
Atlanta’s performance during the 2017 MLS campaign was remarkable as the expansion team paved the way for future expansion prospects as records tumbled. Atlanta United President Darren Eales was recognised as the Doug Hamilton Executive of the Year. The award is named after Doug Hamilton, who was President and General Manager of Los Angeles Galaxy. Hamilton won the Major League Soccer Executive of the Year award three straight times from 2003-2005. A week after his passing on March 15, 2006, the league renamed the Executive of the Year Award in his honour. Mr. Eales joins fellow Atlanta colleagues as an award winner including Sarah Kate Noftsinger for Marketing Executive of the Year and Manny Tejeda for Team Administrator of the Year.
Interestingly the triple crown winners Toronto FC have won just one award, Chris Shewfelt for Corporate Partnerships Executive of the Year despite on field success as they ended the season with three trophies; Canadian Championship, Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup Champions.
Other stories covered by the awards include German legend and World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger’s arrival at Chicago Fire earning the Men in Red the honours for Best Use of Access in Content and Vancouver Whitecaps for their coverage of the Alphonso Davies Story, earning the ‘Caps Digital Content Experience of the Year. Young Canadian international Davies himself is one of the breakout stars approaching the new MLS campaign, who has attracted interest from top European clubs including Manchester United.
MLSfootball offers congratulations to all of the award winners.