New England Revolution defender Jose Goncalves was voted the 2013 MLS Defender of the Year today, following a season in which he anchored one of the league's top defenses and helped the Revs return to the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
Goncalves, 28, joined the Revolution in January from Swiss club FC Sion on loan before the Revs purchased him and permanently transferred him to New England last week.
The central defender was named club captain in early May and started all 34 games this season, playing every minute of every game - one of only three field players in the league to do so.
Goncalves helped anchor the Revs' defense that was among the top defensive corps all season, and which finished the year tied for third-best in the league with a 1.12 goals against average. One season after allowing 44 goals (1.29 goals against average) in 2012, the Revolution allowed just 38 goals and posted a club-record 14 shutouts in 2013.
"We're very pleased that players, clubs and media around MLS recognized the fantastic season-long influence Jose Goncalves had this year," Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said. "Jose has been a great addition to our club and this award recognizes the impact he's had on the field for us. The fact that he was also selected as team captain shortly after his arrival is further testament to his personality and leadership."
"I'm very honored to be recognized by Major League Soccer with this major award," Goncalves said. "I have many people to thank including my family, teammates, the fans and the Club, because without them, this award wouldn't be mine."
The MLS defender of the year is determined through league-wide voting of players, media and executive staff. Goncalves is the Revolution's second defender of the year award winner as former defender Michael Parkhurst (2005-08) was the 2007 award winner.
Was there ever any doubt? JoGo has been arguably the most important piece to the puzzle for New England since he was brought in last off-season. Goncalves helped turn the Revs into a team full of confidence as they fought through a year full of hardship and adversity, finishing in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference standings.
With their captain in tow for the upcoming season, the Revs will hope that Goncalves can replicate his success in 2014 as well.