San Jose veteran midfielder Bobby Convey was named the MLS Comeback Player of the Year on Wednesday, punctuating a remarkable turnaround year for a player who just two years ago saw a knee injury bring his career to a skidding halt.
Convey beat out fellow nominess Chris Albright of the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas youngster Brek Shea on the strength of his team-high 10 assists for the Earthquakes this season and a rejuvenated form that helped lead San Jose into the postseason for the first time since their 2008 rebirth.
Though the effort wasn't considered in the voting, Convey also added two goals and an assist in the Earthquakes' series-clinching 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls last Thursday, pushing them into the Eastern Conference final against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday (9:30 pm ET, FSC).
Just two years ago Convey saw his career in England derailed by the lingering effects of microfracture surgery on his right knee. His time with EPL side Reading came to an end before the 2009 MLS season, when he moved to the US to start 25 games for an Earthquakes team still strugging to find their feet.
Convey, too, had a rough go upon returning to MLS for the first time since his days with D.C. United in 2004. Though he was a regular in the San Jose lineup, the knee injury limited him from becoming fullly fit last season, and he finished with just one goal and two assists as the Quakes missed the postseason.
But he returned in 2010 with newfound energy, notching five assists in his first six games, including three in a 4-0 romp over the Red Bulls on May 8 at Buck Shaw Stadium. He had seven assists by the end of of May and San Jose fans started calling for his return to the US national team for the World Cup in South Africa, though he never received a call.
Convey scored his lone goal of the regular season on July 22, a second-minute finish that eventually helped the Earthquakes record an important 2-2 draw with the league-leading LA Galaxy.
Fully healthy for the first time in years, Convey started a career-high 28 games this season and notched five game-winning assists, also the best of his MLS career.