Real Salt Lake today announced the team’s annual season-ending award winners. Joao Plata was voted the club’s Most Valuable Player in addition to winning the Golden Boot Award, while Chris Schuler (Defensive Player of the Year) and Abdoulie Mansally (Humanitarian of the Year) collected awards as well.
FW Joao Plata: RSL Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot
Plata continued to emerge as a growing talent in the 2014 season and finished the year as the club’s leading scorer. The Ecuadorian forward finished the season with 13 goals and six assists in his fourth MLS season and second with the Claret-and-Cobalt. In addition to being the club’s leading scorer, Plata was also third on the team in assists, trailing only MF Javier Morales (12) and MF Luke Mulholland.
Plata had four goals and eight assists in his first season with Real Salt Lake in 2013, starting in 19 of his 29 appearances. He continued that upward progression this year by starting in 24 matches of the 26 that he appeared in while his ubiquitous smile became contagious to his teammates and RSL’s fans that packed Rio Tinto Stadium in record numbers.
In addition to a stellar season in MLS, Plata also became a fixture for the Ecuador National Team, where he scored his first two career international goals in a 5-1 win over El Salvador on Oct. 14. He now has four appearances for his country, three of which came this year.
DF Chris Schuler: RSL Defensive Player of the Year
Schuler had his most consistent season in his five years with Real Salt Lake in 2014 and was named the club’s Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts. In his career-best 25 starts and 2,154 minutes, Schuler nabbed three goals, including two in one match in a 3-0 win over D.C. United on Aug. 9. RSL went 10-6-9 in his starts, posting five shutouts and a 1.13 goals against average.
Schuler was a 2010 MLS SuperDraft selection for RSL and saw 16 starts in 20 appearances in his second season in 2011. After battling injuries in 2012 and part of 2013, he was pushed back to the forefront of RSL’s defensive core with 16 starts in 2013 before taking a stronghold of the position this year.
DF Abdoulie Mansally: RSL Humanitarian of the Year
Mansally is in his eighth season in Major League Soccer and third with Real Salt Lake and has been a shining example of the community efforts undergone throughout the league. The 25-year-old native of The Gambia in Africa started the Mansally Foundation as a means to help those around him the same way he was helped to chase his dreams of professional soccer.
Through the foundation, money and awareness is raised to help children of The Gambia have access to food, to medical care, to an education and to a brighter future.
Real Salt Lake Career Season-Ending Award Receipients
RSL Most Valuable Player: Joao Plata (2014), Kyle Beckerman (2013), Kyle Beckerman (2012), Kyle Beckerman (2011), Javier Morales (2010), Nat Borchers (2009), Javier Morales (2008), Nick Rimando (2007), Jeff Cunningham (2006), Andy Williams (2005)
RSL Golden Boot Award: Joao Plata (2014), Álvaro Saborío (2013), Álvaro Saborío (2012), Álvaro Saborío (2011), Álvaro Saborío (2010), Robbie Findley (2009), Yura Movsisyan (2008), Robbie Findley (2007), Jeff Cunningham (2006), Jason Kreis (2005)
RSL Defensive Player of the Year: Chris Schuler (2014), Nick Rimando (2013), Nick Rimando (2012), Nat Borchers (2011), Nat Borchers (2010), Jamison Olave (2009), Nat Borchers (2008), Eddie Pope (2007), Carey Talley (2006), Eddie Pope (2005)
RSL Humanitarian of the Year: Abdoulie Mansally (2014), Chris Wingert (2013), Will Johnson (2012), Jean Alexandre (2011), Jean Alexandre (2010), Robbie Russell (2009), Nat Borchers (2008), Carey Talley (2007), Seth Trembly (2006), Brian Kamler (2005)