HARRISON, N.J. – Bradley Wright-Phillips might not be No. 1 in the heart of voters of the Major League Soccer MVP award, but he certainly is with the Red Bulls.
On Thursday, he was named the team’s Most Valuable Player for the past season.
Center back Aaron Long was chosen defender of the year, midfielder Kaku as newcomer of the year and goalkeeper Luis Robles as the humanitarian of the year.
Wright-Phillips, 33, finished sixth in the league in the MVP balloting, despite enjoying another stellar season as he broke multiple league records and continued to rise in MLS’ all-time scoring list. BWP became the fastest player in MLS history to 100 goals as he recorded the feat in 159 matches, surpassing Taylor Twellman’s mark of 174 games to the century mark. He became the first player in league history to score at least 15 goals over five consecutive seasons and to record at least 20 goals in a season three times in a career. Wright-Phillips’ 20 league goals this season raised his career total to 106, which placed him eighth all-time.
Long quickly rose as one of the league’s best defenders in his second season with the Red Bulls. The Oak Hills, Calif. native garnered MLS defender of the year and Best XI honors as he anchored a defense that recorded 15 shutouts and allowed a league-low 33 goals in 34 games. Long also was named an MLS all-star and received his first call-up and start for the U.S. national team.
Kaku enjoyed a strong debut in his first MLS season. The Red Bulls’ first young Designated Player recorded seven goals and 16 assists in 2,958 minutes played across all competitions. All six of his league goals were game winners and his 14 league assists ranked seventh in MLS. Kaku also earned his first call-up and action for the Paraguayan national side.
Robles is in his third year serving as the spokesman for the Tackle Kids Cancer Campaign. He and his wife, Cara, hosted a second-annual fundraising dinner and silent auction, with 100 percent of money raised going directly to research to end childhood cancer. The end of Robles’ 183-game iron-man streak was honored by Robles and the Red Bulls donating $18,300 to a family undergoing pediatric cancer patients. The Red Bulls and Tackle Kids Cancer also teamed up to wear custom cleats, designed by players and pediatric cancer patients, for the September home match against Toronto FC.
Robles has made monthly visits to children’s hospitals on his own time, and volunteers at soccer clinics for underprivileged children, leads the team in community relations efforts on behalf of the Red Bulls, and assists with clinics in his hometown.