Los Angeles Soccer: MLS Coach of the Year

GALAXY: Arena, Beckham pick up awards

November, 14, 2011
CARSON -- Bruce Arena, as many expected, is Major League Soccer's Coach of the Year. David Beckham, as few might have suspected, is the Comeback Player of the Year.

The Galaxy swept Monday's awards, the latest in a two-week march to next weekend's MLS Cup final, against Houston, at Home Depot Center.

Arena was chosen top coach for the third time, well-deserved after guiding the Galaxy to another Supporters' Shield, convincingly despite myriad injuries and a torturous schedule from August on.

He topped Seattle's Sigi Schmid (Torrance/Bishop Montgomery HS and UCLA) and Sporting Kansas City's Peter Vermes for the honor, which he captured two years ago and with D.C. United in 1997.

What does it mean?

“I think it recognizes the fact that we have a very good organization,” Arena said after Monday's training session at Home Depot Center. “My coaching staff has done an excellent job this year, the players certainly have, and our organization supports us. So that's an award that I dont believe is an individual award. It's an award for our organization. They've all graded out pretty well this year.”

Beckham was honored for returning to top form, with his best MLS campaign by a large margin, following last year's Achilles' tendon tear while on loan to AC Milan. He featured down the stretch for L.A. but did not fully regain form until his winter workouts in London with Tottenham and the last part of the Galaxy's preseason.

Expected winner Charlie Davies, who restarted his career in earnest at D.C. United after a deadly car accident two years ago, finished second, and here's a few potential reasons why: He was better earlier than later in the season, there's a perception he will never be the player he was, D.C.'s late collapse to miss the playoffs, and Beckham was just so good this year. Chicago's Dominic Oduro finished third.

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