NEW YORK (Saturday, July 9, 2016) – An exciting array of world-class stars, U.S. National Team players, and emerging young talents have been voted to the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Fan XI. The MLS All-Star Team will take on English Premier League club Arsenal FC at Avaya Stadium, home of the San Jose Earthquakes, on Thursday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m. ET, live on ESPN, UniMás, UDN, TSN, and RDS.
On the heels of a record-breaking Copa America Centenario, three tournament participants were named to the Fan XI, including two U.S. Men’s National Team players that helped the USMNT reach the Copa America semifinals - defensive veteran Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City) and national team newcomer Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers). Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union) – the first goalkeeper chosen No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft (2014) – has become the undisputed starting goalkeeper for Jamaica, appearing in all three of the Caribbean nation’s Copa America Centenario matches.
After becoming the first MLS player to reach the quarterfinal stage of the UEFA European Championships with Belgium, 2015 MLS Defender of the Year Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact) earns his first Fan XI selection. Joining Ciman in the defensive ranks is rookie standout Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union), the 2016 MLS SuperDraft No. 3 overall pick, who has turned heads with his defensive ability and the only rookie to log every minute for his club this season.
While 10 of the 11 players on the Fan XI are determined by fan voting online at MLSsoccer.com, the 11th player is determined through the AT&T/EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge. In a closely contested tournament, Villa took the top prize as fans scored more than 800,000 goals with the NYCFC star in EA SPORTS FIFA 16. Other players who finished in the top five of the ‘More Than a Vote’ Challenge were Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) and Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy).
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2016 MLS All-Star Fan XI
Goalkeeper: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)
Midfielders: Kaká (Orlando City SC), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy),
Forwards: Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), David Villa (New York City FC – AT&T/EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge)
(Listed by position in a 3-4-3 formation)
Andre Blake Goalkeeper Philadelphia Union Nationality: Jamaica Born: November 21, 1990
A Generation adidas signing, and the first goalkeeper taken with the top pick in the history of the MLS SuperDraft, this is Blake’s first All-Star selection. Blake has starred for both club and country this year, starting all three Copa America Centenario matches for his native Jamaica with 18 career caps. With Blake in between the posts, Philadelphia currently sits second in the Eastern Conference standings with a 7-6-5 record.
Matt Besler Defender Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA Born: February 11, 1987
The 2012 MLS Defender of the Year and two-time Best XI selection earns his fifth MLS All-Star nomination (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016). Besler was at the heart of the Sporting Kansas City defense that helped the team win MLS Cup 2013. He was first player from the state of Kansas to play in the FIFA World Cup, starting all four matches for the U.S. national team which advanced to the Round of 16. Besler has become a mainstay on the USMNT, appearing in two Copa America Centenario matches.
Laurent Ciman Defender Montreal Impact Nationality: Belgium Born: August 5, 1985
The 2015 MLS Defender of the Year, Ciman has been an All-Star team in both his seasons playing for Montreal (2015, 2016). Last season Ciman started 27 matches while scoring two goals and adding two assists in leading the Impact to an Eastern Conference semifinals appearance, while starting in all 12 of his appearances in 2016. Ciman has appeared in several major tournaments for his native Belgium national team including the 2008 Olympics, 2014 World Cup and 2016 UEFA European Championship.
Keegan Rosenberry Defender Philadelphia Union Nationality: USA Born: December 11, 1993
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Rosenberry has quickly established himself as a lockdown defender and one of the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year. In leading the Union to second place in the Eastern Conference standings, Rosenberry has started and played a full 90 minutes in all 18 of Philadelphia’s matches this season. Rosenberry becomes the first rookie to be named an MLS All-Star since 2013 and only the second since 2005.
Kaká Midfielder Orlando City SC Nationality: Brazil Born: April 22, 1982
The winner of the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or earns his second MLS All-Star selection in his second season with Orlando City SC. Kaká is one of the most decorated soccer players in the world, having won the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Brazil and the 2006-07 Champions League with AC Milan, along with a host of other awards. The Orlando captain has been invaluable this year as he is ranks in the top 10 league wide with five assists while ranking third for Orlando with three goals scored.
Darlington Nagbe Midfielder Portland Timbers Nationality: USA/Liberia Born: July 19, 1990
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Nagbe played a pivotal role in helping Portland to its first MLS Cup title last season. Nagbe’s creative ability on the pitch saw him breakout with the U.S. national team with 10 caps since receiving his U.S. citizenship in September 2015. This is Nagbe’s first All-Star game appearance after tallying one goal and three assists in 2016 with the midfielder also participating in this summer’s Copa America Centenario.
“Il Maestro” earns his first MLS All-Star selection adding to an accolade filled career including three World Cup appearances (2006, 2010, 2014) and the fourth-most caps ever for the Italian national team. Hailed as one of the best passing players in the world, Pirlo previously won the UEFA Champions League with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007, along with a World Cup title in 2006. In his second season with NYCFC, Pirlo has one goal and is tied for fourth league wide with six assists this year.
Giovani dos Santos Midfielder LA Galaxy Nationality: Mexico Born: May 11, 1989
An Olympic gold medalist with Mexico in 2012, dos Santos has numerous international accolades including two World Cup appearances (2010, 2014), three Gold Cup titles (2009, 2011, 2015) and the 2009 Gold Cup MVP. Now in his second season with the Galaxy, dos Santos is one of only three players league wide to rank in the top 10 in goals and assists. His seven goals and five assists this season surpass his total from 2015 resulting in his first MLS All-Star appearance.
Didier Drogba Forward Montreal Impact Nationality: Ivory Coast Born: March 11, 1978
One of the most accomplished players to hit MLS, Drogba has appeared in three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014) for his native Ivory Coast. Before arriving to Montreal, Drogba spent an illustrious career at Chelsea where he is the fourth leading scorer all-time, leading The Blues to four Premier League titles and its first ever UEFA Champions League in 2012. In his first season with Montreal, Drogba scored 11 goals in an efficient 11 games, and already has five goals and five assists this season in eight starts on his way to his first MLS All-Star nomination.
Sebastian Giovinco Forward Toronto FC Nationality: Italy Born: January 26, 1987
The 2015 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, Giovinco had a wondrous first season in MLS leading Toronto FC to its first ever postseason appearance while posting a league record for most combined goals and assists. Now in his second season with Toronto, the skilled Italian ranks among the top five players league wide with eight goals scored and six assists. Already Toronto’s all-time leading goal scorer, this is Giovinco’s second MLS All-Star nomination (2015).
David Villa Forward New York City FC Nationality: Spain Born: March 12, 1981
Villa is making his second consecutive appearance as an MLS All-Star after scoring 18 goals last season, his first with New York City FC. Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer, Villa has played in three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014), leading Spain to the 2010 title while receiving the Silver Shoe for scoring the second most goals in the tournament. This season, Villa currently paces the MLS Golden Boot race with 12 goals.