Major League Soccer today announced that Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almirón was named MLS Newcomer of the Year, beating out Chicago’s Nemanja Nikolic and teammate Josef Martínez. The award recognizes the year’s most impactful new MLS Player with prior professional experience. The 23-year-old is also a finalist for the Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award.
Almirón scored nine goals and added a team-high 14 assists in 30 appearances in his first MLS season, as the Paraguayan playmaker was at the center of an Atlanta attack that finished second in MLS with 70 goals scored. Atlanta became just the sixth team in league history to reach that number, while also breaking an MLS expansion team record. Almirón was voted an MLS All-Star and was also named the No. 1 player on MLS’ 24 under 24 list in 2017. He was a two-time MLS Player of the Week, a seven-time MLS Team of the Week selection and a three-time MLS Goal of the Week winner.
The Asunción native became the second Designated Player in team history on December 5, 2016. Prior to joining Atlanta, Almirón spent the first years of his professional career between the top leagues in Paraguay and Argentina, debuting with hometown club Cerro Porteño before moving to Argentine club Lanús. Almirón has been a fixture in Paraguay’s national team camp, featuring in 2018 World Cup Qualifying and the 2016 Copa America Centenario.
The award was voted on by players, media and club management.
|Newcomer of the Year||Player Vote||Media Vote||Club Exec Vote||Average|
|Miguel Almirón (ATL)||41.38%||29.09%||41.67%||37.38%|
|Nemanja Nikolić (CHI)||18.77%||35.76%||20.24%||24.92%|
|Josef Martínez (ATL)||14.94%||18.79%||9.52%||14.42%|
|Victor Vazquez (TOR)||5.75%||11.21%||9.52%||8.83%|
|Bastian Schweinsteiger (CHI)||1.92%||1.82%||4.76%||2.83%|
|Albert Rusnak (RSL)||1.92%||0.30%||2.38%||1.53%|
MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners:
2017: Miguel Almirón – Atlanta United
2016: Nicolás Lodeiro – Seattle Sounders FC
2015: Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC
2014: Pedro Morales – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
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