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MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

December 6, 2016
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New York City FC's David Villa named MLS MVP


New York City FC's David Villa has been named Major League Soccer's MVP.
New York City FC's David Villa has been named Major League Soccer's MVP.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
NEW YORK -- New York City FC striker David Villa was named MVP of Major League Soccer for the 2016 season Tuesday morning.

Villa, a Spanish international, scored 23 goals, second in the league to the Red Bulls' Bradley Wright-Phillips (24 goals).

BWP and teammate Sacha Kljestan were the award finalists, finishing second and third, respectively.

"Today is one of the biggest days of my career, said Villa, who won the 2010 World Cup with Spain. "Two years and a half ago when I decided to come here some people thought maybe I had come here to find a home and retire. I tried every day to show to the people with my body that I come here to be strong and competitive - to show that I want to grow my career and to follow through, to make history.

"This trophy it means a lot to me because for this trophy, the community of players chose me, the coaches and the journalists choose me.

"It’s a symbol for me on why I came here. I want to say thank you to a lot of people – first of all, I want to thank MLS and to the City Football Group for giving me the opportunity, to let me live this amazing dream.

"Of course everyone working at NYC FC for helping me every day – my teammates, the people in the locker room – everyone who helps us every day. To Patrick, to all the coaching staff, to Jon Patricof and all of the people who work at the Manhattan office and at Purchase – this trophy is for you.

The first player signed in club history, Villa lived up to his billing in 2016 as the club went 11-3-3 in matches in which he scored. Villa finished the regular season in tremendous form, scoring six goals and providing two assists in his last four appearances, helping City win three of four en route to clinching the club’s first postseason berth. Villa recorded six multi-goal games this year, second most league-wide.

Throughout the season, Villa sustained his dangerous reputation in front of goal with 22 of his regular season tallies coming from inside the area, five of which were converted from the penalty spot. Villa also recorded the highest number of shots on goal league-wide (68) and finished second in both shots (166) and goals per 90 minutes average (.72) among players who played in more than 25 regular season games in 2016.

“I’m really pleased for him and for the football club – it’s a massive trophy in this country," head coach Patrick Vieira said.

“To be voted MVP is a fantastic achievement and nobody deserves it more than David. I’ve been working with him every day and every day I see that same love and passion for the game.

“David is the perfect player that you want to bring from abroad because he’s a humble person. He played in Europe, he won the Champions League, he won the World Cup, he won the European Championships but he came to this club with humility and love for the game. He has time for all of his teammates.

“I remember the first time I met him when I came to this club we talked about what we wanted to achieve this year and I was so impressed with the desire he had to do well for this football club.

“He truly buys in to this project – he’s a really important part of our success and will continue to be in the future.”

Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer, Villa, along with Wright-Phillips, has been the league’s most prolific striker over the past two seasons with a combined 41 goals (2015-16).

Since 1996, the MLS MVP award has been presented annually to the individual deemed most valuable to his club by players, management and the media.

MLS MVPs

2016: David Villa – New York City FC
2015: Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC
2014: Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy
2013: Mike Magee – Chicago Fire
2012: Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes
2011: Dwayne De Rosario – D.C. United
2010: David Ferreira – FC Dallas
2009: Landon Donovan – LA Galaxy
2008: Guillermo Barros Schelotto – Columbus Crew
2007: Luciano Emilio – D.C. United
2006: Christian Gómez – D.C. United
2005: Taylor Twellman – New England Revolution
2004: Amado Guevara – MetroStars
2003: Preki – Kansas City Wizards
2002: Carlos Ruiz – LA Galaxy
2001: Alex Pineda Chacón – Miami Fusion
2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards
1999: Jason Kreis – Dallas Burn
1998: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United
1997: Preki – Kansas City Wizards
1996: Carlos Valderrama – Tampa Bay Mutiny
   
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