Making the case for Brek Shea

21 reasons why the 21-year-old midfielder should be the youngest MVP in league history

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If FC Dallas’ Brek Shea were to take home 2011 MVP honors, it would make the 21-year-old flanker the youngest MVP in Major League Soccer history. But don’t let the young Texan’s age fool you – Shea has put up numbers this season that far belie his barely legal status. Herewith, 21 reasons why Brek Shea should be the youngest MVP in league history.

1.
The kid scores like a seasoned veteran. His 11 goals so far this season have him in the thick of the Budweiser Golden Boot race alongside established stars like Landon Donovan (29), Thierry Henry (34) and Dwayne De Rosario (33).

2.
He knows how to pass, too. Shea also has four assists on the season, including a two-assist performance vs. Sporting KC that led FC Dallas to a come-from-behind victory.

3.
He makes it count. Shea has a knack for making plays in big games – see his league-leading five game-winners for proof.

4.
He’s a rock star. Surely you’ve seen the hair by now? The ever-changing faux hawk, the brief cornrow debacle, that stripe down the center of his straw-colored hair – Brek Shea knows how to make a statement.
 

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5.
He can carry the load. How many 21-year-olds do you know that could step up when the reigning MLS MVP went down with a serious injury? Brek Shea did, becoming the team’s leading scorer in David Ferreira’s absence.

6.
The guy is popular. Like, really popular. Fans overwhelmingly voted him to No. 1 on MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 list; he has almost 10,000 Twitter followers; heck, even his HAIR has a Twitter account.

7.
He’s gotten better. A LOT better. 2010 was a career year for Shea, but with two regular season games left in 2011, he’s already far surpassed his totals from a year ago.

8.
He’s 100% DTID. The College Station, Texas native re-signed with FC Dallas through 2015 – keeping him in Stripes at least until he’s old enough to rent a car.

9.
He’s tough. In 2011, Shea has already played 2,647 minutes – fifth on the team. That doesnt even include his 360 with the U.S. Men's National Team.

10.
He’s creative. Oh, you thought we meant on the field? Sure, that too – but we were talking off it. Shea is a talented artist with his own studio (Left Foot Studio) and even created the large FC Dallas painting hanging in Pizza Hut Park’s River Club.

11.
Ok fine, he’s creative on the field too. Need proof? Check out this goal against Sporting KC. Not convinced? Fine, here’s his blast at Toronto.

12.
He’s a Star. As in, an All-Star. Shea was voted to his first MLS All-Star squad this year as a member of the First XI. We have a feeling there’s many more to come.

13.
He’s been so good this year that even the U.S. Men’s National Team has noticed. Four call-ups, six caps, four starts and a game-winning assist vs. Honduras? Good enough for Jurgen Klinsmann to call him “one of the kids we’re going to build around for the next cycle.” 

14.
He can – and will – play anywhere. Sure, Shea has been impressive on the flank this season, but let’s not forget the first six games of the season when he admirably filled in at center back.

15.
Even the other MVP candidates are scared to play against Shea. “The guy is amazing right now,” said Thierry Henry. Landon Donovan: “It’s a nightmare to play against him.”

16.
He stands out in the crowd. There’s plenty of young talent in MLS, but only one player could be ranked No. 1 on MLSSoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 list, voted on by nine of the most well-respected soccer writers in the country. That player was, of course, Brek Shea.

17.
Does anyone in MLS mean more to their team than Brek Shea? We don’t think so – in fact, FC Dallas is an impressive 8-2-1 when Shea scores.

18.
When he’s hot, he’s hot. In peak form this summer, Shea ripped off a consecutive goal-scoring streak of four games, and FC Dallas lost only once during that span.

19.
He’s daring. MLS defenders know better than to end up facing Shea 1-v-1 on the flank. He’s known for fearlessly taking on defenders – and usually beating them.

20.
Somehow he manages to still be humble. Ask Brek Shea a question about his play this season, and you’re more likely to get a quote about how his team has helped him get there. Turns out he’s just that kind of guy.

21.
Did we mention he’s 21 years old? That’s right, at the ripe old age of 21 Brek Shea has put together one of the most impressive single-season campaigns of any player, any age. Is anyone else even close?

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