Nashville SC announce end of year award winners

Nashville SC announced Thursday the winners of the club’s End of Year awards for their debut season in Major League Soccer.

Most Valuable Player – Walker Zimmerman

From the club’s release:

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“Walker Zimmerman was acquired by Nashville SC weeks before the season started in a record-breaking deal for a defender and has proven his worth. In the 2020 campaign Zimmerman has anchored a record-breaking backline that has produced nine shutouts as of Nov. 10. The nine clean sheets were tied for the most in MLS. Through 23 matches played, Zimmerman ranked first in MLS in headed clearances with 68, tied for sixth in aerials won with 64 and is tied for fourth in goals scored by a defender with three. Zimmerman leads Nashville SC in clearances (112), headed clearances (68), and second in interceptions (38).”

Offensive Player of the Year – Randall Leal

From the club’s release:

“Randall Leal has been the offensive sparkplug for Nashville SC in the club’s inaugural season in MLS. As of Nov. 10, the Costa Rican midfielder has recorded three goals and four assists in his first campaign in MLS. Leal’s four assists are tied with Captain Dax McCarty and Designated Player Hany Mukhtar for the team lead. Leal is the team leader for Nashville SC in shots attempted with 41 and shots on goal with 18. Leal has earned MLS Team of the Week honors three times this season in his first year with Nashville.”

Defensive Player of the Year – Dave Romney

From the club’s release:

“Dave Romney has been the iron man for Nashville SC this season. Romney is the only outfield player for Nashville to have played every minute of the 2020 season, racking up 2,070 minutes, becoming the only Nashville SC outfield player to play every minute in 2020. This season has proven to be Romney’s personal best relative to 23 matches played within a season. Romney has anchored a record-breaking backline to nine shutouts and has recorded 45 aerial balls won, 45 headed clearances and a team leading 19 blocks.”

Goal of the Year – Daniel Ríos vs FC Dallas Oct. 20

From the club’s release:

“Daniel Ríos has made his impact felt in his first season in Major League Soccer. Ríos finished tied for the team-lead in goals scored for Nashville alongside Hany Mukhtar. Rios had a stretch of matches where the forward recorded four goals in six matches from Sept. 23 through Oct. 31. On Oct. 20 at Nissan Stadium, Ríos recorded the goal of the year by capping off a 3-0 victory over FC Dallas in national television. After receiving a beautiful through ball from Randall Leal, Ríos collected the pass inside the 18-yard box and took a touch to his left, then immediately to his right, twisting defender Reto Ziegler to the ground. Ríos then finish off the goal with a rocket into the side netting.”

Humanitarian of the Year – Jalil Anibaba

From the club’s release:

“Jalil Anibaba has made his impact felt in the community in 2020 and has used his platform to provide a voice for change. Anibaba, along with fellow MLS players started the Black Players For Change (BCP) organization, days after the death of George Floyd.

BPC is an independent organization consisting of over 170 players, coaches and staff of MLS, working to bridge the racial equality gap that exists in society.  BPC is committed to tackling the racial injustices that have limited Black people from having an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society. Among the many goals the organization strives to advance the attention on human right inequalities from protest to programs, partnerships and policies that address systemic racism.

Anibaba has made an immediate impact at the local level here in Nashville. In celebration of Juneteenth, Anibaba and his Nashville SC teammates volunteered at the Community Resource Center to make household preparedness kits for families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Community Resource center collects and distribute essential goods and medical supplies to Nashvillians in poverty and has been a key player assisting Middle Tennessee’s most vulnerable families.

The Nashville SC defender is also the host of the Anibaba Skills Camp where kids ages 5-18 have an opportunity to sign up and register for soccer clinics hosted by the player.

Broadway Sports is currently holding voting for our own End of Year awards. Fans can cast their ballot for those awards here.

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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