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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 9, 2021) – Nashville Soccer Club announced its end of the season team awards for the club’s sophomore season in Major League Soccer. The list of categories and bios of each award winner can be found below.

End of the Year Awards
Award
Winner
Most Valuable Player presented by Heineken
Hany Mukhtar
Offensive Player of the Year
CJ Sapong
Defensive Player of the Year presented by Aon
Walker Zimmerman
Goal of the Year
Luke Haakenson (Goal vs. Toronto FC June 23)
Humanitarian of the Year
Taylor Washington

NASHVILLE SC MOST VALUABLE PLAYER PRESENTED BY HEINEKEN: HANY MUKHTAR

MLS MVP candidate Hany Mukhtar was electrifying in his second MLS season. In his final match of the regular season this past weekend, Mukhtar scored his 16th goal of the season off an improbable free kick. Mukhtar registered 28 goals + assists, the most of any player in MLS this season. Mukhtar also secured the fastest hat trick in MLS history with three goals in the span of six minutes on July 17 against Chicago Fire FC. Mukhtar was selected to the MLS Team of the Week seven times this season and was selected as the MLS Player of the Week twice this season. Mukhtar finished the season strong scoring nine goals and registering eight assists in his final 15 matches of the season. In those 15 matches, Mukhtar went just three games without recording a goal or registering an assist in a match. Mukhtar finished the regular season tied for fifth in MLS in goals, tied for fourth in assists with 12, tied for second in shots on target with 43 and finished fifth in shots with 94. Mukhtar led all Nashville SC players in those respective categories as well

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: CJ SAPONG

CJ Sapong joined Nashville SC prior to the 2021 season via a free agent acquisition. Sapong scored double-digit goals this season for just the third time in his MLS career and registered five assists this season, tying a career high. Sapong registered 66 shots this season, the second most for his career for shots registered in a season Sapong registered 34 shots on target this season, tying a career-high also set in 2017.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR PRESENTED BY AON: WALKER ZIMMERMAN

2021 MLS All-Star Walker Zimmerman anchored Nashville SC to a goals-against average of 0.96 in his appearances this season. Zimmerman ranked first among qualified Nashville SC outfield players in duel percentage at 65% and led Nashville SC players in headed duel percentage with 73.2%. Zimmerman set a new career-high in assists this season and was selected to MLS Team of the Week four times this season. Zimmerman was a mainstay not only at the club level, but for the United States Men’s National Team as well, in this calendar year alone, making seven appearances for the USMNT. In his most recent call-up Zimmerman appeared in in FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches. Zimmerman served as the captain during the first round of the 2021 Gold Cup for the United States and wore the armband once again during WCQ matches in a 90-minute performance against Panama.

GOAL OF THE YEAR: LUKE HAAKENSON (GOAL VS. TORONTO FC JUNE 23)

Luke Haakenson has been awarded with the 2021 goal of the year after his performance against Toronto FC on June 23. After already notching a goal on the evening to tie the match, Haakenson scored the game-winner in stoppage time to send the Nissan Stadium crowd into a frenzy. After receiving a pass in the final third from Daniel Lovitz, Haakenson secured possession while dekeing past the Toronto defense and ultimately tucking away the game-winner in the corner of the net.

HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR: TAYLOR WASHINGTON

Taylor Washington has been a pillar for the Nashville community since moving to the Music City. Washington has been heavily involved in a variety of ways to serve in the community. Washington is extremely invested in the Special Olympics group here in Nashville and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic was active in teaching Special Olympic athletes how to play soccer.

A week after Nashville SC’s inaugural match in Major League Soccer, a tornado ripped through the Middle Tennessee area, causing destruction across the city. Washington led his teammates in outreach efforts to help clean up the destruction and help neighbors in the community get back on their feet.

Washington along with teammates Jalil Anibaba and others were vital in starting the first Juneteenth act of service day with Nashville Soccer Club.

In both seasons at the MLS level, Washington has been vital towards Nashville SC’s Kick Childhood Cancer initiatives. In his first MLS season with Nashville, Washington participated in numerous Zoom visits with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. This season Washington welcomed back one the very patients he spoke with last year to the broadcast booth as the KCC 2021 guest commentator. Washington also gave special messages to participates who were active in NSC’s 2021 KCC night.

Off the pitch Washington is extremely active within the church community in Nashville, surviving at the local food kitchen and spending time with ministry under the bridge, providing guidance for unhoused citizens in Nashville. Washington was also able to share his testimony via a podcast through Cross Point Church in Nashville, which can be found here.

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