Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson didn’t come back from injury, but rather from the abyss of what seemed a prematurely withering career.
When signed by Seattle on Feb. 17, he was a man without a club and nearly forgotten by the U.S. national team.
On Tuesday, Johnson was named Major League Soccer’s comeback player of the year after contributing 14 goals and three assists in his first season as a Sounder.
“I would like to thank the entire Sounders organization for giving me this opportunity in Seattle,” Johnson said through a club press release. “This was a fun and exciting year, and I share this award with my coaches and teammates for pushing me to be the best player I can be.”
Teammate Steve Zakuani finished fifth in comeback award voting, which involves clubs, players and media.
Johnson, 28, also won the comeback award in 2007, when he played with Kansas City. However, his career dipped after that with four disappointing seasons in Europe — enough to where it was considered a gamble when the Sounders acquired him from Montreal for Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito.
Johnson’s rejuvenation in Seattle also led to his return to the national team, where he had two goals against Antigua and Barbuda and an assist against Guatemala in helping the USA advance to the hexagonal stage of World Cup qualifying.
MLS also honored Frank Yallop as coach of the year after leading San Jose to the Supporters’ Shield. Sounders coach Sigi Schmid was fifth in the voting.
Today MLS will reveal its goalkeeper and newcomer of the year winners. Seattle’s Michael Gspurning is a finalist for both.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer