The List: Rookie of the Year Watch 2012

The List: Rookie of the Year Watch 2012

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On February 27, 2012
  • 2012 MLS Season, 2012 Rookie Watch, Features

Darren Mattocks has shown well already for Vancouver. (Photo via

Each season Major League Soccer has a new crop of rookies that don their respective clubs jerseys for the first time and try to prove that they have what it takes to be something in this league.

In seasons past it has been the top picks in the draft that have shined the most in getting the Rookie of the Year award. Other times like with Jonathan Bornstein (a 4th round pick back in 2006) or even a mid-first round pick like CJ Sapong last year have gone on to win the award.

So who has the inside track this season out of the group of rookies that are entering the league? Will it be one from the draft or will another Home Grown Player follow the footsteps of Andy Najar and steal the award away from one that was drafted?

Below are my early season favorites to win the Rookie of the Year award, in my season’s first Rookie Watch post. (Just note there is no meaning behind the order here, so don’t read into that)

1. Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps) – So far this preseason he has shown he is hungry for goals. He’s also shown at least to Montreal that they were dumb not to take him with the first pick. I love players that want to prove a point like that and if he can do it to all the other 18 clubs in the league and not just Montreal, then he has to be the odds-on favorite to start the season to win this award.

2. Casey Townsend (Chivas USA) – He’s had some solid minutes so far this preseason. Sometimes this award comes down to goals scored and if he can bag more than the rest, he’ll be in good shape.

3. Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution) – Some still have questions on Rowe but early preseason reports indicate he’s doing pretty well under Jay Heaps. I think he’s definitely one of the most intriguing rookies to watch out of this season.

4. Tom Meyer (LA Galaxy) – Not a big name from the draft but he is already looking like he may be the Omar Gonzalez replacement for the season. He’ll have some rookie issues early on but with all that talent around him he could sneak up and do very well this season.

5. Ben Speas (Columbus Crew) – I’m throwing a HGP out there for good measure. Speas showed well at the College Cup last year for UNC and earned himself a pro contract with the Crew as a result. This one is a long shot but anything is possible these days with HGPs.

6. Dom Dwyer (Sporting KC) – Hard not to argue with Peter Vermes’ track record with young players as of late. He scored huge with Teal Bunbury and with Sapong last year. If he can make it three in a row with Dwyer then he may be the new coach that others should be modeling their SuperDrafts after.

7. Andrew Wenger (Montreal Impact) – Hard to not include the first overall pick but I do worry that his lack of time with the club this spring will hurt his chances at this award. A lot of expectations will be placed upon him as well. Can he handle it will be the key question.


Alan Clark
  • Feb 27 2012
I'd expect Leonardo will be ahead of Meyer or st least splitting time once he's fully recovered.  As for Vermes - I watched Dwyer in Florida and he was mediocre....time to grow for sure.  However, before lauding Vermes remember that he also selected Cyprian Hedrick who looked woefully out of his depth even against a Montreal B team.  He was absolutely owned by Wenger in the game yesterday.
    Drew Epperley
    • Feb 27 2012
    Yup, still early on all of this that is for sure. See anyone else that stood out in Florida this past weekend Alan?
      Alan Clark
      • Feb 27 2012
      I liked several of the youngsters on Houston's team.  I thought Soto (HG) was excellent, and Sata also showed well for them.  Soto was very involved in what was a second string line up, really pulling all the strings.  Gyorio (KS trialists out of FTL in NASL) was very good.  I'll have to look back over my notes and see who else stood out on the positive side (several looked very bad and well out of their depth Hedrick on SKC, Ouimette on MTL for example).  Dom Kinnear was riding Warren Creavealle something rotten but over two games at RB he looked pretty solid actually. I would like to have seen more of Mattocks but he took his goal very well, I was standing right behind the net for that one. As for Dallas observations, Blas Perez played angry and looked frustrated most of the game.  Rodriguez was poor on the left side of midfield.  Castillo was lively but his delivery from out wide was lacking (I left just before he scored) so I saw less of Dallas than any other team over the 3 days I was in town.