Skip directly to content

Philadelphia Union midfielder Chris Pontius named MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Contact: MLS Communications
(212) 450-1408
Philadelphia Union midfielder Chris Pontius named MLS Comeback Player of the Year
After injury setbacks, MLS veteran records career-highs to lead Union to playoffs
NEW YORK, NY (Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016) – Major League Soccer announced today that Philadelphia Union midfielder Chris Pontius has been named the 2016 MLS Comeback Player of the Year. The annual award honors a player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the regular season.
The No. 7 overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of UC Santa Barbara, Pontius spent his first seven seasons in the league with D.C. United. After a breakout year in 2012 that saw him notch 12 goals while earning All-Star and MLS Best XI selections, Pontius’ career was put on hold after suffering a slew of injuries that limited his playing time significantly. Prior to the 2016 season, Pontius had only recorded a total of six goals and four assists in the previous three seasons combined (2013-2015).
Traded to the Union in December 2015, Pontius experienced a tremendous comeback season in 2016 with a team-leading 12 goals, matching his career best set in 2012, and ranking tied for the most goals among any American-born player in MLS this year. The 29-year-old added a career-high six assists, tied for second best on the Union, and went on to start in 32 of his 33 regular appearances.
Leading the club in combined goals and assists, Pontius helped the Union to its second ever postseason appearance and first since 2011. With eight second half goals in 2016, Pontius proved to be a vital difference maker, with the team registering a 5-4-5 record in games where he recorded a goal or an assist. 
The award was voted on by MLS club management, media, and current MLS players. Below is a breakdown of the voting results:
Comeback Player of the Year
Player Vote %
Media Vote %
Club Vote %
Average %
Chris Pontius (PHI)
Frank Lampard (NYCFC)
Kevin Molino (ORL)
Jozy Altidore (TOR)
Bill Hamid (DC)
MLS Comeback Player of the Year Winners:
2016: Chris Pontius – Philadelphia Union
2015: Tim Melia – Sporting Kansas City
2014: Rodney Wallace – Portland Timbers
2013: Kevin Alston – New England Revolution
2012: Eddie Johnson – Seattle Sounders FC
2011: David Beckham – Los Angeles Galaxy
2010: Bobby Convey – San Jose Earthquakes
2009: Zach Thornton – Chivas USA
2008: Kenny Cooper – FC Dallas
2007: Eddie Johnson – Kansas City Wizards
2006: Richard Mulrooney – FC Dallas
2005: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
2004: Brian Ching – San Jose Earthquakes
2003: Chris Armas – Chicago Fire
2002: Chris Klein – Kansas City Wizards
2001: Troy Dayak – San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Tony Meola – Kansas City Wizards