Kevin Alston voted MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Revs’ defender honored after tackling a rare form of leukemia this season

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston was voted the 2013 Comeback Player of the Year today after his courageous battle with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare but treatable form of leukemia, this season.

Alston, 25, started every game he was available for during the first four years of his career, which began in 2009. But at the end of this past March, he knew something was wrong and he wasn’t feeling quite right. On March 30 against FC Dallas, he was subbed off toward the end of the game and examined by team physicians. On April 8, he was diagnosed with CML.

With no cure for CML, Alston underwent four-and-a-half months of treatment, all while remaining a constant presence around the team at training. After he was cleared to slowly begin workouts in late May, he returned to the field on July 27 in D.C. – in his hometown and in front of almost 100 friends and family.

“Kevin has been an inspiration for our entire organization this year,” Revolution president Brian Bilello said. “It was a shock to everyone to hear that someone so young and fit could be hit with this disease, but Kevin approached his treatment with such a tremendous attitude that it was no surprise that he returned to the field so quickly. We’re very pleased his determination and spirit has been recognized by those around the league.”

On the field this season, Alston started the first four games of the year before receiving his CML diagnosis. After his return, he made five more appearances – including two starts – to finish the year with nine appearances and six starts.

The MLS Comeback Player of the Year is determined through league-wide voting of players, media and executive staff, and honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2013 regular season.

Alston is the team’s first comeback player of the year in team history. This season, he joins Revs teammates Jose Goncalves (defender of the year) and Matt Reis (humanitarian of the year) as league award winners. 

PLAYER % Club Votes % Media Votes % Player Votes WEIGHTED TOTAL
1. Kevin Alston (NE) 35.42 48.05 16.34 99.81
2. Conor Casey (PHI) 29.17 18.18 15.27 62.62
3. Lamar Neagle (SEA) 8.33 7.79 19.35 35.47
4. Donovan Ricketts (POR) 10.42 7.79 16.77 34.98

MLS Comeback Player of the Year Winners:
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