David Beckham, Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena win MLS honors

Midfielder is comeback player of the year and team's mentor is coach of the year. They'll lead the Galaxy into the MLS Cup at Home Depot Center.

November 14, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena congratulates David Beckham embrace after Arena replaced the midfielder at the end of a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in the MLS Western Conference championship game at Home Depot Center.
Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena congratulates David Beckham embrace after Arena… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena and midfielder David Beckham each picked up Major League Soccer honors Monday. Arena won coach of the year for the third time and Beckham was named the league's comeback player of the year.

Arena led the Galaxy to a 19-5-10 regular-season mark, giving it the league's best record for the second consecutive season. The Galaxy also won all three of its playoff matches and is unbeaten this season at the Home Depot Center, which is where the team will play Sunday's MLS Cup against the Houston Dynamo.

Arena, the only three-time winner as the MLS' top coach, will be a head coach in an MLS Cup for the fifth time, also a league record.

"At this point in my career you can certainly appreciate why you're in a position to be recognized in these awards," Arena said. "In our particular case, I have a great coaching staff, my players are excellent and have had a great season. I have a great organization and for me this award is an award for our organization, not for me individually.

"It's been such a concerted effort this year to be good and have quality. This award recognizes our entire organization for what it is."

Beckham was recognized for rebounding from an injury-marred 2010 season to play in a career-high 26 MLS games and finish second in the league with a career-best 15 assists. Last week, Beckham was named to the MLS' First XL — the league's postseason all-star team — for the first time.

Voting for both awards was conducted among clubs, media and players based on regular-season performance. The Seattle Sounders' Sigi Schmid and Sporting Kansas City's Peter Vermes were the other finalists for the coach of the year award. Beckham beat out D.C. United forward Charlie Davies and Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro for his prize.

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