New York, NY – Sporting Kansas City forward C.J. Sapong was named the 2011 Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.
Sapong totaled five goals and five assists and was the only Sporting player to feature in all 34 matches in the regular season. Drafted 10th overall, Sapong topped D.C. United defender Perry Kitchen and Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Farfan in the voting.
"Receiving this honor is very humbling," Sapong said, "but it would never have been a possibility without the help of so many people."
Sapong scored in his MLS debut, and Sporting won all five matches he scored in during the regular season. He also assisted on two game-winning goals for K.C. - which advanced to the Eastern Conference final in the MLS Cup playoffs.
Sapong is the first player in club history to win the award.
"The organization is extremely proud of C.J. We believed in him right from the start, but we didn't expect him to come along and exceed expectations the way he did," Sporting manager Peter Vermes said. "We're excited because C.J. has such a bright future for Sporting Kansas City."
All first-year players in MLS without previous professional experience were eligible for the Rookie of the Year award, voted by media, MLS players, and MLS club management. Sapong led the voting by an overwhelming margin in all three categories.
MLS also announced that Philadelphia Union forward Sebastien Le Toux won the Individual Fair Play Award after playing every minute without receiving even one card, nor any supplementary discipline.
Also, the Portland Timbers won the Team Fair Play Award after they had an MLS- low 347 fouls this season - 27 fewer than the next closest team. Portland was also just one of just five teams to average under 1.5 yellow cards per game,