Chung wins MLS award

Former USF player Mark Chung was honored Monday with the Major League Soccer Fair Play Award for the 2002 season.

Chung, a midfielder for the Colorado Rapids, completed the season without receiving a yellow or red card in 27 regular season matches (all starts) and five playoff contests. He has been cautioned only four times in his seven-year career and has never been sent off.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for any accomplishment on the field, and this is no different,” Chung said of the award, which is presented to the player who best exemplifies respect, sportsmanship and teamwork. “Obviously, nothing can compare to winning the bigger prize, a league championship, but I am happy to be able to show people the value and importance of good sportsmanship.

“Knowing that kids might view me as a good role model on the field is the best part of this award.”

With 11 goals and 10 assists, Chung, a left-footed playmaker, was the only MLS player to record double digits in both categories this year. He was the Rapids’ scoring champion and most valuable player and a participant in the midseason All-Star Game. The Rapids were eliminated in the Western Conference finals last week by the L.A. Galaxy.

Chung, 32, joins Steve Ralston as the only two-time winner of the Fair Play Award, having won it in 1997 as a member of the Kansas City Wizards, who won this season’s team Fair Play Award. Ironically, Chung is also the most fouled player in league history, as he has been brought down 456 times in more than 200 MLS games.

The Fair Play Award might not be the only hardware Chung takes home this year. He is one of three finalists for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award to be announced Friday.

A Bull from 1988-92, Chung led USF in assists in 1989 and 1992 and is tied for seventh on the career assists chart with 25.