Vancouver Whitecaps FC midfielder Pedro Morales has been named MLS Newcomer of the Year, becoming the first Whitecaps player to win a major year-end award, the league announced on Wednesday.
Morales earned 30 percent of club votes, 34 percent of media votes and nearly 24 percent of player votes to bring home the award. New England Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones and LA Galaxy midfielder Stefan Ishizaki finished second and third, respectively.
"I am honoured to win the Newcomer of the Year award," said Morales. "My first season in MLS has been very memorable. The quality of players throughout the league is incredible and I am humbled to be recognized by my peers, club executives and coaches, as well as the media. My family loves it in Vancouver and I am very thankful to my club, coaches, teammates, and fans. All of them helped make this past year one of my most enjoyable seasons and I can't wait for 2015.”
The Chilean attacking midfielder led Vancouver in goals (10) and assists (12). He became the first player in team history to lead in both categories.
Head coach Carl Robinson praised Morales for his role in the team's improved play this season.
"He's a top player and a top person," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "Everyone saw the impact he made this past season. He's got pictures in his mind and he makes the players around him better. Equally as important is his demeanor off the field. Pedro is an incredible leader for our young players and a joy to work with. This is a thoroughly deserving honour."
Vancouver finished 12-8-14 and made the playoffs after missing the playoffs with a 13-12-9 record last season. They lost in the knockout round of the playoffs to FC Dallas.
- Josh Sanchez