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Atlanta United Forward Giorgos Giakoumakis Named 2023 MLS Newcomer of the Year

November 2, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Atlanta United FC News Release

ATLANTA - Major League Soccer today announced Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis as the 2023 MLS Newcomer of the Year. The award recognized the year's most impactful player who had prior professional experience and made their MLS debut during the 2023 regular season. Giakoumakis becomes the second consecutive player from Atlanta United to claim the award, following Thiago Almada last season, and the third player in club history joining Miguel Almirón in 2017.

Giakoumakis recorded a team-high 17 goals in just 1,792 regular-season minutes. His 17 goals tied for the second-most in the league, while his 0.85 goals per 90 minutes average was the best mark among all players (minimum 1,500 minutes played) in regular season play. The Greek forward joined Atlanta United as a Designated Player on Feb. 8, 2023, and made his MLS debut on March 4 against Toronto FC. Giakoumakis quickly started his dominant inaugural campaign, scoring his first career MLS goal in his first start with a header from inside the box against Portland Timbers on March 18. The Greek international became the first player in club history, and just the second in league history (Taylor Twellman) to score a goal in each of his first five starts in MLS. Giakoumakis went on to score 10 goals in his first 766 minutes of action to become the second-fastest player in league history to reach double-digit goals from the start of his MLS career (Mamadou Diallo, 750 minutes).

He also continued to hit the back of the net after Leagues Cup 2023, scoring both of Atlanta's goals in the club's 2-0 victory on the road against Seattle Sounders FC on August 20, which earned him MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire honors. Giakoumakis' 17 goals in 2023 were the fourth-most in Atlanta United history, trailing only Josef Martínez (2017-19). Of his 17 goals, six came via headers, marking the second-most headed goals in MLS this season. He was also selected to the MLS Team of the Week roster on six occasions (Week 6, 13, 14, 18, 27 and 38) to help Atlanta back into playoff contention.

Giakoumakis' strong MLS play carried over to international duty for Greece, as he has seen action in eight matches since joining Atlanta United. In UEFA Euro Championship 2024 qualifying, Giakoumakis scored the game-winning goal in his country's 2-0 win against Ireland on October 13 along with providing an assist in the 5-0 victory over Gibraltar on September 10. Thanks to his dynamic play, Greece is assured of at least a play-off spot in UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying.

Atlanta is the first club to have back-to-back winners of the honor and the second to have three different players earn the accolade (Seattle Sounders FC), as Miguel Almirón also won the award in 2017. Giakoumakis took home the award over fellow finalists and standout newcomers Eduard Löwen (St. Louis CITY SC) and Lionel Messi (Inter Miami CF).

The Newcomer of the Year award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media, and current MLS players. Below is a breakdown of the voting results.

Name Player Vote Vote Club Media Vote Average Vote

Giorgos Giakoumakis (ATL) 34.34% 46.34% 56.65% 45.78%

Lionel Messi (MIA) 35.54% 34.15%. 12.14% 27.28%

Eduard Löwen (STL) 11.45% 14.63% 20.23% 15.44%

A full list of previous MLS Newcomer of the Year award winners can be found below:

season player Club

2023 Giorgos Giakoumakis Atlanta United

2022 Thiago Almada Atlanta United

2021 Cristian Arango Los Angeles Football Club

2020 Lucas Zelarayán Columbus Crew

2019 Carles Gil New England Revolution

2018 Zlatan Ibrahimovich Los Angeles Galaxy

2017 Miguel Almiron Atlanta United

2016 Nicolas Lodeiro Seattle Sounders FC

2015 Sebastian Giovinco Toronto F.C.

2014 Pedro Morales Vancouver Whitecaps FC

2013 Diego Valeri Portland Timbers

2012 Federico Higuain Columbus Crew

2011 Mauro Rosales Seattle Sounders FC

2010 Alvaro Saborío Royal Salt Lake

2009 Freddy Montero Seattle Sounders FC

2008 Darren Huckerby San Jose Earthquakes

2007 Luciano Emilio D.C. United

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