Work in Sports
Fraser named top defender
Galaxy captain honored; Heaps wins rookie award
Posted: Wednesday November 17, 1999 04:49 PM
Fraser, seeking the MLS Cup title with the Galaxy when Los Angeles faces D.C. United on Sunday in Foxboro, teamed with goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and defensive midfielder Danny Pena to lead MLS' stingiest defense. He has been voted the Galaxy's top defender in each of the last three seasons and was a member of the league's "Best 11" in both 1996 and 1998.
The staunch central defender finished the 1999 regular season with 24 appearances, and also appeared in his third MLS All-Star Game. Fraser organized the Galaxy's record-setting defense, which allowed 29 goals in 32 games to become the first team in league history to allow fewer than a goal per game. Fraser's play has earned him a return to the U.S. national team, ending a six-year absence. He joins D.C. United's Jeff Agoos as the only players to appear for the U.S. under each of the last five coaches.
The 1999 MLS Rookie of the Year award was captured by Fusion defender/midfielder Jay Heaps, who appeared in 29 games and played more than 2,500 minutes for the second-year squad. The 1998 Missouri Athletic Club Award winner was the league's No. 2 overall draft pick out of Duke University, where he also played as a walk-on point guard for three-and-a-half years for the perennial national basketball power.
Heaps scored three goals and added one assist in 1999, and he scored his first MLS goal in his professional debut. Heaps led all rookies in minutes played and ranked second in goals, points (7) and games played, while his efforts at right back and on the right flank for the Fusion earned him a U.S. national team selection for the team's Sept. 8 match against Jamaica in Kingston.
MLS' other award winners include scoring champion: Jason Kreis (Dallas); Goal of the Year: Marco Etcheverry (D.C. United); Fair Play Awards: Steve Ralson (Tampa Bay) and the Columbus Crew; referee of the year: Paul Tamberino; coach of the year: Sigi Schmid (Los Angeles); and goalkeeper of the year: Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles).
The league will name its 1999 most valuable player on Friday. The finalists include D.C. United's Marco Etcheverry, United forward Jaime Moreno and the Burn's Kreis.