Columbus Crew SC announced several club 2015 honors at halftime of its regular-season finale at MAPFRE Stadium today, ahead of the club's run in the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs. Forward Kei Kamara earned three team awards, including the Barbasol Most Valuable Player honor.
KEI KAMARA – BARBASOL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
In the first season of his second stint with Crew SC, Kei Kamara was consistently a force for the Black & Gold and is considered among the leading candidates for the Major League Soccer Landon Donovan MVP Award in addition to capturing the club's Barbasol Most Valuable Player honor. An MLS All-Star in 2015, Kamara's 22 goals were tied for the League lead entering the final weekend of regular-season play, and his season-long totals of 135 shots, 57 shots on goal and seven game-winning goals set new all-time single-season club records. He was nominated for the Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month award four times (April, May, August, September) and was named MLS Player of the Week three times (Weeks 12, 23, 28). Crew SC was 10-1-5 when Kamara scored a goal in the 2015 regular season, as well as 5-0-2 when he provided an assist.
KEI KAMARA – GOLDEN BOOT WINNER
Kei Kamara chased club history all season long with his goal-scoring abilities, and in the end his 22 regular-season tallies captured the club's Golden Boot award. Kamara recorded the second-highest amount of goals scored by one player in Crew SC single-season history, and he is just the second player to ever hit the 20-goal plateau in Black & Gold. His multiple-goal performances also led all of Major League Soccer entering the final weekend of regular-season play, and Kamara's six braces this season were the second-most ever recorded by a single Crew SC player in one season. As evidence of Kamara's dominance, the forward's six multi-goal games this season were more than the amount of total individual multi-goal performances registered by 16 of the 19 other MLS clubs.
WAYLON FRANCIS – DEFENDER OF THE YEAR
A second-year Crew SC defender and a first-time MLS All-Star in 2015, Waylon Francis has quickly ascended to the ranks of one of the best leftbacks in MLS. This season, his six assists are tied for the League lead in assists by a defender, and over his two years playing for Crew SC, no other defender has recorded more helpers than Francis, who posted 12 assists. This season, the Costa Rican's 31 completed crosses entering the final weekend are second-most among all League defenders. Defensively, entering the final weekend of the season, Francis is one of just five League defenders to have attempted 70 tackles this season, and of that group, his 90.4% success rate ranks second. Only two other defenders across MLS have won more tackles than Francis, who has won 66.
KEI KAMARA – OHIOHEALTH HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR
For his work with both his own charitable initiative, Schools for Salone, as well as his dedication and commitment to sharing his inspiring story with the Columbus community, forward Kei Kamara was named the OhioHealth Humanitarian of the Year. Schools for Salone partners with local villages in the Crew SC forward's native country to rebuild schools that were devastated in Sierra Leone's ten-year civil war. Since 2005, the foundation has built 16 schools and two libraries, including the “Education for All Primary School” in Allen Town, East End Freetown, which opened for classes in September of this year and was personally sponsored by Kamara and Philadelphia Union midfielder Michael Lahoud. Here in Central Ohio, the Crew SC forward has consistently given his time to speak to classrooms and youth centers about his inspiring story, including the Columbus Global Academy, where he teamed with Black & Gold Community MVP Derek Braun's biology class to speak about pursing dreams.
MICHAEL PARKHURST – KIRK URSO HEART AWARD
Defender Michael Parkhurst becomes the fourth player to receive this award after Kirk Urso was posthumously honored in the inaugural year of the special recognition in 2012. Voted by his teammates, Parkhurst was chosen as the player that best exemplified the qualities in a teammate and became “the heart” in the Black & Gold’s locker room. Parkhurst has been Crew SC's Captain since his arrival prior to the 2014 Major League Soccer season and is the club's leader this season among all outfield players in minutes played (2,805).
EDWARD FOLDS III – CREW SC ACADEMY PLAYER OF THE YEAR
In recognition of his bright future and his contributions for the Black & Gold's Under-17/Under-18 Academy team, defender Edward Folds III was named the Crew SC Academy Player of the Year. An 18-year-old centerback, Folds is verbally committed to Wake Forest University and has competed for the Black & Gold since the U-13 level. In 2011, Folds joined the U-14 Pre-Academy team, where he participated in the U.S. Soccer Developmental Showcase event in Dallas with the U-15/U-16 team. He progressed to the U-15/U-16 team in 2012, a year that he credits as his most rewarding year in the Academy program, as he frequently trained with the U-17/U-18s during this time. Set to graduate from Olentangy Orange High School in 2016, Folds completed the 2014-15 season with 27 appearances (all starts) for the U-17/U-18s, registering three goals. He is set to serve as the Captain of the U-17/U-18s during the 2015-16 season.