Last year’s magical and unforgetable run that ended with a second MLS Title was too good of a story to pass up Thursday night’s 85th Annual MTRWestern Sports Star of the Year Awards, presented by the Seattle Sports Commission. The Rave Green were named overall Sports Story of Year, while forward Raúl Ruidíaz earned Male Sports Star of the Year accolades.
The Sounders were able to distance themselves in a crowded field of impressive sports storylines in Washington. Sounders FC was awarded the Sports Story of the Year due to its 3-1 victory over Toronto FC in front of a sold-out home crowd at CenturyLink Field.
It was the club’s second title win came following a postseason run that saw the Rave Green set a new MLS record for consecutive postseason qualifications with 11, as well as a thrilling road upset of a Supporters’ Shield-winning LAFC squad in the Western Conference Championship. Sounders FC then hosted the MLS Cup Final match in Seattle, putting together a week of festivities leading up to the match and hoisting the Anschutz Trophy in front of 69,274 fans – a new record for attendance at CenturyLink Field as well as marking the most attended soccer match in the history of Washington state.
Other nominees for Sports Story of the Year included Megan Rapinoe leading the USWNT to World Cup victory as Player of the Year, the Seattle Seahawks’ playoff run, the Seattle Seawolves’ back-to-back Major League Rugby championships and the UW Women’s Crew sweeping the NCAA championship.
In the Male Athlete of the Year category, Ruidíaz, the club’s consecutive Golden Boot winner in 2018 and 2019 beat out a field of male sports icons from the Seattle area that included Tyler Lockett (Seattle Seahawks), Matisse Thybulle (UW Basketball), Max Borghi (WSU Football), Blake Bodily (UW Soccer) and Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga Basketball).
Sounders FC Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson accepted the award on Ruidíaz’s behalf, as the striker is currently traveling with Sounders FC for the team’s preseason training camp.
Ruidíaz recorded a video for Thursday’s award ceremony prior to departing with his teammates for camp in Mexico City, which can be accessed via the media resources section above. Ruidíaz played an integral role in Seattle’s MLS Cup Championship-winning season, leading the team with 11 goals in the regular season in just 22 appearances, ranking him tied for eighth in MLS with 0.50 goals per game.
He also tallied an impressive four goals and four assists in four 2019 postseason games as the Rave Green rolled to their second league title. Conceived in 1936, the annual awards banquet has celebrated the achievements of Washington sports for nine decades.
The event features a pre-show reception and silent auctions, followed by a live awards show that showcases the athletes, coaches, executives, philanthropists and sports stories from the year past.
Sounders FC continues its preseason training with a trip to Mexico City this week, where the team is training until departing for a Thursday, February 20 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League matchup against Honduran side Olimpia in San Pedro Sula. The club then returns to Seattle to host Olimpia at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, February 27 before kicking off the MLS season hosting Chicago Fire FC on Sunday, March 1 at 12:00 p.m. PT in a nationally televised bout on ESPN