Why Tim Ream, Not Andy Najar, Should Have Been Named MLS Rookie of the Year


Now that Major League Soccer has started to give out their awards in certain categories, there is one they’ve awarded that is highly questionable. That’s the Rookie of the Year category. The three nominees were Danny Mwanga of the Philadelphia Union, Tim Ream of the New York Red Bulls and Andy Najar of DC United. To win this category, I believe you need to consider rookies having solid seasons, from start to finish, to win that award.

Unbelievably, Najar was voted by MLS as Rookie of the Year. From a terrible season for the club in our Nation’s Capital he scored five goals with an assist and started twenty-two out of the twenty-six games he played. What he has shown to all of us is that he is going to be the future at DC United and a possible member of the US National Team. Or he could play for Honduras if he has to make a choice. There’s no doubt that he’ll be a shining star out of a doom and gloom season at RFK. But while it’s nice to see him get this award, sadly there was a mistake made by the league and those who think they did the right thing.

Rookie central defender Tim Ream, who has played every single match and every single minute in his first season in MLS, deserved the award. The former St. Louis University defender did more than Najar with a club that was having a spectacular season, made the playoffs and is an MLS Cup contender. No matter where Ream was on the field he always tracked back and when he got close enough to the attacker, he would clear the ball away from his man without ever having to take him down. If this award is supposed to be given to an exciting goal scorer, then we should just make two separate awards for Rookie Forward of the Year and Rookie Defender of the Year.

Major League Soccer has done a disservice in their decision to name Najar Rookie of the Year. Some will say that Najar slightly did better than the other two nominees, but that is a laughable excuse. I am not saying Najar won’t be an exciting player in the league in the future. I think he has a bright future for his club career and as a potential national team player, but as the only bright spot in a horrible season for DC United it wasn’t enough for him to win the award.

Yes I know that I see Ream day-in and day-out at training and at Red Bull Arena. I also watch MSG Network (Madison Square Garden Network) when the club is on the road if it’s not broadcasted on ESPN2 or Fox Soccer Channel. But if Ream wasn’t starting and all of a sudden head coach Hans Backe decided to throw him in there in the middle of the season because the Red Bulls had a horrible start and he allowed about three to four goals a match, then the voting would be even and I wouldn’t have had a problem at all. Ream started on March 27 against the Chicago Fire and played all thirty matches in the regular season.

He started the season partnering with Mike Petke, and then got Carlos Mendes when Backe made a change. Not one minute did he look out of place. Of course he had a bad match here and there, but he was able to mentally get back into the swing of things and found ways to prevent a goal in the next match.

Congratulations to Najar. You are the MLS 2010 Rookie of the Year winner, but the real winner should have been Ream who had a solid season from the first match of the regular season all the way to the end.

15 thoughts on “Why Tim Ream, Not Andy Najar, Should Have Been Named MLS Rookie of the Year”

  1. Offense gets all the glory being that njar is a striker. while defense jus gets a pat on the back. I agree that ream had special year but he’s a victim of his own position on the field.

  2. “Offense gets all the glory being that njar is a striker. while defense jus gets a pat on the back. ”

    Which is why a defensive player has won the RotY award for the past six years.

    The only exceptional thing Ream did is defend without fouling. People point to his minutes played as if it’s a significant stat or is proof of excellence. All it shows is that he’s durable, which is a good thing, but hardly worth getting excited about.

    1. Honestly Jason it’s more than that. There have been a couple of times when a great pass sets up a run and catches the central defender a bit flat footed. What Ream has done is not panic, sprints hard after the forward and then makes the clean tackle without taking his man down.

      When has a centerback made that type of defensive play? Even a rookie like Ream who has done a great job being so consistant. If it was a forwards turn to get the award, then that’s the wrong way of doing it.

  3. There are a lot of good rookies, these are very hard to call.

    That being said Ream deserved it. He was this years Gonzolas.

    But more than that…he turned that franchise around more than any player. yes I said franchise and yes I mean the whole trend of the team over its history. I realize that they made the finals two years ago, but after last year, it seemed a bit of a fluke in an overall blah existance.

    Just has a different feel in a time in MLS history when having a different feel can mean a lot.

  4. I’ve never seen so much complaining about this award. Especially from Red Bulls fans. I’ve always held you guys in high regard for all the frustation you have endured over the years.

    Put Ream on 2010 DC United and see how well he plays. Then put Najar on 2010 Red Bulls and see how well he plays. I bet that Ream would have had a frustrating season with the rest of the team while Najar would have played similarly but with better numbers because of being surrounded by a good team.

    If you took Ream out, the Red Bulls were still a good team with a solid defense. When you took Najar out, there was little in the way of a creative attacking spark. Najar was the more valuable player and deserved the award.

    I can say that with certainty, having gone to all the United home games this year and watching such a futile team.

    1. When the season started, no one thought it was going to be like this and no one thought Ream was going to be this freaking good. Both positions have a giant amount of pressure to play. Ream started every minute and every match.

      You can say if you took Ream out, they would have a solid defense. Carlos Mendes was recovering from injury, so was Chris Albright. Andrew Boyens is a good defender, but still needs to step it up & as we all saw, Mike Petke is done (sadly). So Ream is important and he never waivered at all.

  5. Because America severly lacks what Italians call “fantasisti”. Creators on the field, w/ imagination and skill. Irony is, Najar will probably end up playing for his native Guatemala.
    Ream has had an outstanding season, no doubt. He is intelligent, physical and composed defender.
    But Najar is a special player. That’s why he got it.

    1. Najar is from Honduras, not Guatemala, and he has given no indication of which national team he’d prefer to play for. He’ll be eligible for a green card before 2014 and will be just 21 years old.

      Either way, though, you’re right, he is special.

      1. Kevin: you are right; he is from Honduras.
        I believe he already has a green card and will be eligible for a US passport in 2014…
        At any rate, I saw the kid play in pre-season v. New York Red Bulls in Bradenton, Florida back in February of this year. He stood out w/in 5 minutes of play. First touch, movement off the ball, it was a wow moment for me…I was like “Who the hell is this kid???”
        US better hope he choses to play for his adopted country…the USMNT could use more “fantasisti” like Najar.

  6. Tim Ream should win because he was a big reason why the Red Bulls had a huge turn around. He made a average to below average backlind and made it a tough as nails D.

    2nd would be Mwanga and 3rd would be Johnson (Goalkeeper- CHI) and then Najar

  7. Andy Najar is not the future of US Soccer. He will end of playing for Honduras.

    He would have to wait several years just to get his citizenship. He is only a green card holder. Plus he feels Honduran, not American.

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