TAMPA, Fla. – If there was one team that dominated the on-field conversation in the USL Championship in 2019, there was one player that stood out in a squad loaded with talent.
In a season during which he and his side put up unprecedented attacking numbers, it was impossible to take your eyes off Solomon Asante.
Asante was named the 2019 USL Championship Most Valuable Player on Thursday, capping a season in which he became only the second player to claim both the league’s Golden Boot and Assists Champion awards and set regular-season records for assists (17) and combined goals and assists (39).
The diminutive Ghanaian had a major impact on Rising FC’s fortunes in his first season at the club in 2018, coming up one assist short of recording double-digit goals and assists during the regular season before helping lead the side to its first Western Conference title and Championship Final appearance. This season, Asante found another level, proving instrumental in Rising FC’s record-setting campaign.
Asante’s 22 goals included a stretch during which he recorded a goal in seven consecutive games, notching nine times over that span as well as putting up five assists. His five two-goal games led the Championship, and he earned Player of the Month honors in both June and August while leading Phoenix on an unprecedented 20-game winning streak.
Asante joined the elite company of two-time Championship MVP Kevin Molino, the only prior player in the league to win both the Golden Boot and Assists Champion awards in the same season, while he combined with fellow All-League First Team selection Adam Jahn and Jamaican international Junior Flemmings to record 54 combined goals, the most by a trio of teammates in the Championship’s history.
Having led Rising FC to the Championship’s Regular Season Title in 2019, Asante will be back next year looking to lead his club to its first league title, ready to take on any defense that stands in his way.
Asante earned 75 percent of the vote to win the award. Nashville SC’s Daniel Rios finished second on 11 percent, while Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC’s Kenardo Forbes finished third on five percent. Seven players in total received votes for the award.
The 2019 USL Championship Awards were voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL Championship market. Voting was conducted following the conclusion of the 2019 Championship regular season.
Goalkeeper of the Year: Matt Pickens, Nashville SC
Defender of the Year: Joe Greenspan, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Coach of the Year: Rick Schantz, Phoenix Rising FC
Young Player of the Year: Cristian Parano, San Antonio FC
Most Valuable Player: Solomon Asante, Phoenix Rising FC
2011: Yordany Alvarez, Orlando City SC
2012: Kevin Molino, Orlando City SC
2013: Jose Angulo, Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
2014: Kevin Molino, Orlando City SC
2015: Matt Fondy, Louisville City FC
2016: Sean Okoli, FC Cincinnati
2017: Dane Kelly, Reno 1868 FC
2018: Emmanuel Ledesma, FC Cincinnati