Nashville SC centerback Walker Zimmerman has earned the first individual (season-long) honor in club history. The 27-year old is the Major League Soccer Defender of the Year. From League release:
NEW YORK (Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020) – Major League Soccer announced today that Nashville SC center back Walker Zimmerman has been named the 2020 MLS Defender of the Year.
Zimmerman helped guide Nashville SC to a historic year, becoming the sixth expansion club in MLS history to clinch a spot in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in its inaugural season. Nashville SC posted a goals against average of 0.96 goals per game, the best of any expansion club in league history, and tied for the league-lead with nine clean sheets this season. The club allowed 22 goals this season, third-fewest in the league, and only two goals more than the league leaders.
Offensively, Zimmerman scored three goals and registered one assist in 22 starts this season. Zimmerman scored the first goal in Nashville history on Feb. 29 in the club’s inaugural match. The 27-year-old U.S. Men’s National Team regular led MLS with 69 headed clearances, while his 64 aerials won were tied for sixth-most.
Zimmerman wins his first Defender of the Year award after finishing as runner-up last season while playing with the Los Angeles Football Club. The No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas also finished fourth in Defender of the Year award voting in 2016 while with FC Dallas.
Nashville SC will host Inter Miami CF at Nissan Stadium in the Play-In Round of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs on Friday, Nov. 20 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2 / ESPN Deportes / TSN / TVA Sports).MLS Release
Zimmerman earned one Team of the Week honor – for Week 20 – and made the MLS Team of the Week bench in Week 17. Nashville SC traded for the US International in a large deal with Los Angeles FC in the days leading up to the 2020 season (and has since extended his contract), and General Manager Mike Jacobs’s investment has paid off.
The Boys in Gold next take the field Friday evening, with the opportunity to extend their inaugural season in MLS by beating fellow expansion club Inter Miami CF in the opening round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.