The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced their annual team awards Friday naming striker Dominic Oduro Most Valuable Player and defender Cory Gibbs Defender of the Year. The first Fire player since 2004 to score double-digit goals in an MLS season, Oduro’s 12 goals also garner him the club’s Budweiser Golden Boot award. Second-year defender Steven Kinney was selected as the Men in Red’s MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year for his charitable contributions within the Chicagoland area. The club will honor the 2011 Award Winners in a pregame ceremony when the Fire close out the regular season at TOYOTA PARK against the Columbus Crew on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m. CT (CSN).
Additionally, Section 8 Chicago, the Independent Supporters Association of the Chicago Fire today launched their online voting for the 2011 Supporters Player of the Year. Voting is open to all Chicago Fire supporters and can be done by visiting http://section8chicago.com/playeroftheyear. Voting will end Monday, October 31.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER/BUDWEISER GOLDEN BOOT:
Dominic Oduro has been named the 2011 Chicago Fire Most Valuable Player which is voted on by local media and the club’s technical staff. Making his way to the Windy City via trade from Houston on March 23, the six-year MLS veteran has also earned the club’s Budweiser Golden Boot as his 12 goals and two assists shattered his previous best season strike rate of five goals. The fleet Ghanaian attacker combined his tallies in the league with two important goals in the club’s run to the 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final and has proven invaluable in the side’s late season playoff push, bagging five game-winners across all competitions this season.
DEFENDER OF THE YEAR:
Cory Gibbs was named Fire Defender of the Year, narrowly edging out second-year Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson for the honor, which is voted on by local media and the club’s Technical Staff. Having joined the club via the inaugural MLS Re-Entry Draft last December, the U.S. International provided instant experience to an almost completely different Fire backline in 2011. Going into Saturday’s regular season finale against Columbus, the formidable center back has already matched his career best for MLS regular season games played at 25 and has provided assistance on the attacking end as well, bagging three of his four career MLS goals with the Fire in 2011.
MLS W.O.R.K.S/CHICAGO FIRE HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR:
Fire defender Steven Kinney was named the MLS W.O.R.K.S./Chicago Fire Humanitarian of the Year for his contributions off the pitch. Although he was sidelined with an Achilles injury, Steven Kinney made outstanding strides to improve the lives of children throughout the season. The second-year Fire defender trained as a volunteer and made weekly visits to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, often spending the afternoon playing bingo and cheering up patients.Additionally, Kinney made a continued effort to support both Teammates for Kids and the Chicago Fire Foundation since joining the club in 2010.
ABOUT CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER CLUB
The Chicago Fire Soccer Club was founded on October 8, 1997 as a Major League Soccer expansion team. The Fire won the MLS Cup in its inaugural season in 1998 and was crowned the champion of U.S. Soccer's national tournament, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006. In June 2006, the Fire moved into its world-class home of TOYOTA PARK, located in Bridgeview, IL. For more information on the Chicago Fire, please visit the club’s official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.
ABOUT TOYOTA PARK
Located 15 minutes from downtown Chicago and minutes from Midway airport off of I-55 on Harlem Avenue, TOYOTA PARK is the Midwest’s preeminent outdoor live entertainment and sporting facility. Opened in 2006, TOYOTA PARK not only serves as the home of the Chicago Fire, but also hosts a variety of sporting events, special events and concerts by national and international artists. In 2010, TOYOTA PARK hosted Jimmy Buffett and Phish, while welcoming back Eric Clapton and his Crossroads tour.