SAN JOSE, Calif. – San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Fatai Alashe has been selected as one of three finalists for the 2015 AT&T Rookie of the Year Award, while Quakes defender Marvell Wynne is a finalist for the MLS Fair Play Award. The AT&T Rookie of the Year Award recognizes the best player without previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2015. The MLS Fair Play Award is given annually to both an individual player and team and is selected by Major League Soccer based on objective criteria such as fouls committed, cards received, games & minutes played, as well as subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior.
Alashe, 22, was the fourth overall selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft out of Michigan State University. He made his MLS debut in Week 1 at FC Dallas before recording his first career start in Week 2 at Seattle Sounders FC. The following week, Alashe scored just five minutes into his home debut, tallying the first-ever goal at Avaya Stadium.
Alashe made a total of 28 appearances, including 27 starts, for San Jose during his rookie year, notching two goals and two assists. He became the team’s first MLS SuperDraft selection to score multiple goals in his rookie season since Ike Opara in 2010.
Consistently matching up against opponents’ most dangerous attacking midfielder, and often acting as the team’s primary replacement at center back, Alashe helped the Quakes defense allow just 39 total goals, tied for third fewest in Major League Soccer.
Wynne, 29, joined the Earthquakes prior to this season after stints with the New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC and the Colorado Rapids. The first overall selection in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft was the Quakes most oft-used defender in 2015 and helped the club rank among the league’s best in numerous defensive categories, including allowing just 11 goals on home turf, fewest by any team in a single season since 2013.
Despite the 10-year MLS veteran setting career highs in appearances (33), starts (32) and minutes (2,762), Wynne committed only 22 fouls all season and was cautioned just once. Wynne was the only player in the league this season to log more than 2,500 minutes and receive one or fewer yellow cards.