FC Dallas Defender Matt Hedges Named MLS Defender of the Year

American defender leads Dallas to Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield titles

FRISCO, Texas (Friday, Nov. 11) – Major League Soccer announced today that FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges has been named the 2016 MLS Defender of the Year.

The 26-year-old American had another standout year, leading Dallas to victory in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the club’s first title since 1998, followed by a Supporters’ Shield title with the best record in MLS. With his stellar defensive play, Hedges helped Dallas become the first team in MLS history to record consecutive 60-plus point seasons along with back-to-back appearances in CONCACAF Champions League.

With Hedges in the lineup, Dallas recorded a dominant 13-4-9 record, giving up 23 goals in his 26 games played, an average of 0.88 goals allowed per game. During a Hedges absence due to injury, Dallas compiled a 4-4-0 record and conceded 17 goals in eight matches for a mark of 2.125 goals allowed per game. Further demonstrating his importance to the club, Dallas recorded 11 of its 12 shutouts this season with Hedges in the starting lineup, allowing 40 goals across the course of the season, tied for fourth best in MLS.

Hedges stellar 2016 season comes on the heels of an equally dominant 2015 campaign where he was named to the Best XI and finished as runner-up in MLS Defender of the Year voting. In each of his five seasons in Dallas, Hedges has logged over 2,000 minutes, providing a consistent and durable defensive presence that saw him named the youngest team captain in franchise history in 2014.

Drafted by Dallas with the No. 11 overall selection in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, Hedges won an NCAA Championship in his senior season at the University of North Carolina before beginning his professional career. Internationally, Hedges represents the United States, receiving his first cap for the U.S. Men’s National Team in a February 8, 2015 friendly victory over Panama.

The award was voted on by MLS club management, media, and MLS players. Below is a breakdown of the voting results:

Defender Player Vote % Media Vote % Club Vote % Average %
Matt Hedges (FCD) 21.77% 19.81% 31.58% 24.39%
Jelle Van Damme (LA) 19.73% 16.98% 25.00% 20.57%
Axel Sjoberg (COL) 6.80% 28.30% 15.79% 16.96%
Walker Zimmerman (FCD) 7.48% 12.26% 6.58% 8.78%
Steve Birnbaum (DC) 10.20% 3.77% 3.95% 5.97%

MLS Defender of the Year Winners:

2016: Matt Hedges – FC Dallas
2015: Laurent Ciman – Montreal Impact
2014: Chad Marshall – Seattle Sounders FC
2013: Jose Goncalves – New England Revolution
2012: Matt Besler – Sporting Kansas City
2011: Omar Gonzalez – LA Galaxy
2010: Jamison Olave – Real Salt Lake
2009: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
2008: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
2007: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
2006: Bobby Boswell – D.C. United
2005: Jimmy Conrad – Kansas City Wizards
2004: Robin Fraser – Columbus Crew
2003: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
2002: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
2001: Jeff Agoos – San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Peter Vermes – Kansas City Wizards
1999: Robin Fraser – Los Angeles Galaxy
1998: Lubos Kubik – Chicago Fire
1997: Eddie Pope – D.C. United
1996: John Doyle – San Jose Earthquakes