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Revs Defender Kevin Alston Named MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Diagnosed early in the season with leukemia, Kevin Alston returned to the field after a significant absence from the team to receive treatment, helping the Revs make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sport

Kevin Alston's four and a half month battle against chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and subsequent return to the field in 2013 has earned him the 2013 MLS Comeback Player of the Year Award the team and league announced today.

Alston was diagnosed with CML on April 8th, after being subbed off during an MLS game against FC Dallas on March 30th and being examined by team physicians. After months of treatment and recovery, Alston, a Washington D.C. native, returned to the Revs squad and appeared as a substitute in front of his hometown at DC United and RFK Stadium.

Alston, 25, started every game he was available for during the first four years of his career, which began in 2009 after being selected in the 1st round (10th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of Indiana by the Revolution. Alston started the first four games of the season before his diagnosis and made five more appearances including two starts after his return to the lineup.

"Kevin has been an inspiration for our entire organization this year," Revolution president Brian Bilello said. "It was a shock to everyone to hear that someone so young and fit could be hit with this disease, but Kevin approached his treatment with such a tremendous attitude that it was no surprise that he returned to the field so quickly. We're very pleased his determination and spirit has been recognized by those around the league."

Alston's individual accomplishment is the Revolution's third such award in 2013, joining Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves and MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Matt Reis.

Alston received a large amount of votes from the media and team officials with the players splitting their votes almost evenly between Alston, Philadelphia Union's Conor Casey, Seattle Sounders' Lamar Neagle (who led with 19.35% of the player vote) and Portland Timbers' Donovan Ricketts league wide voting process.