Friday, October 16, 2009

Benny Award 7: The Harkesy

By definition, the Harkesy Award should go to the DC United player who has been the strongest leader for our team this season. On-field leadership is important, but for this award, it isn't everything. And that would be evidenced by the fact that Ben Olsen won the award last year after playing only 15 minutes. The award's namesake is captain for life John Harkes who was United's captain for the first three years of the team's existence.

1. Jaime Moreno is the team's captain this season, and has always had an uncanny ability to hold the ball, distribute, and take over a match. However, Moreno has apparently only been worthy of 11 starts this season, despite his 8 goals and 3 assists.

2. Ben Olsen leads by example on the field, exuding courage, heart, brains, and whatever Dorothy was looking for too. Olsen has been one of the few players on the team who looks like he has given all he's got every match of the year.

3. Santino Quaranta appears to be poised to take over as the leader of the next generation of players on the team. He has been the most vocal in the media, and has set a fine example for the rookies and other younger players.

4. Tom Soehn is by title the technical leader of the team. Parts of this season have certainly been a challenge for Soehn in assembling a strong lineup every week with injuries to key personnel and international appearances to fend off, but he was able to guide the team to first place for much of the first half of the season before being faced with these issues. Late in the year though, with United falling from playoff competition and dropping multiple home matches, Soehn may have lost his team.
Please enter your votes now through the end of the season, and remember to post in the comments section to be eligible for the exciting prizes that I announced last week.

Next up: The Popie - Who is United's best defender this season?


Jeremy said...

The efeects may or may not have been always beneficial, but I believe that Soehn really stepped up and attempted to assert his own leadership style this year.

With a roster made up almost completely of over the hill, often injured veterans and a bunch of promising rookies, Soehn did his best to try to develop the youngsters and keep the veterans healthy.

Was he effective? The results aren't holding that up for this year, but I think that he may have done a decent job with the development of the rookies. Only time will tell in that regard.

Frankly, none of the players provided much leadership this year. Tino would be the top on the list, but I think Soehn deserves the vote for this award, even if he doesn't deserve to be the coach next year.

rob said...


Frankly, none of the players provided much leadership this year.

As the vast majority of voters seems to agree with me that Olsen is the obvious winner here, presumably because they also agree with Shatz that Olsen's led by example of the field, could you explain why you think that's not the case? (I'm genuinely curious, because your comments are usually thoughful, not trying to be an ass...)

Jeremy said...

At times Benny has been an on-field leader. At other times, he has just been an emotional distraction (like against Chivas).

Tino also has lead on the field from time to time.

Jaime, who I felt was the clear winner last year, appeared to take the whole year off and should have handed the armband off to someone else this year.

There were no consistent on-field leaders, and there was no evidence of any player leading in the locker room. I just never got the feel that anyone was blending the individuals into a team.

A large part of the blame for that has to fall on Soehn as well. However, there is only so much that a manager can do to blend players into a unit. At a certain point, players need to step up and bond amongst themselves.

I suppose that if, like most fans, I were to have an emotional hatred of everything Soehn, then Benny is a good second choice.

Like I said, if I had an option of None of the Above for this award, I would have selected that. I can't think of anyone else that I would have even put on the list.

This year was just disappointing to me. Even more disappointing than last year, since I can't lay all of the blame at the feet of a paycheck Argentinian (or can I?).