Rowdies Re-sign 2013 NASL MVP Georgi Hristov
The Rowdies announced on Monday that the club has signed 2013 NASL Golden Ball winner Georgi Hristov to a four-year contract, with the third and fourth year being a club option.
Hristov (6-0, 165) capped off a prolific first season with the Rowdies, earning the 2013 NASL Golden Ball (league's Most Valuable Player) and a spot on the NASL Best XI. In 1,834 minutes played, the forward scored 12 goals, which kept him in the race for the Golden Boot until the last match of the season.
“I am extremely pleased that Hristov is returning to the Rowdies,” said club owner Bill Edwards. “He was a great asset in 2013 and I am confident he will continue to be a leader for the team and the league.”
Hristov netted three goals in three 2013 Lamar Hunt U. S. Open Cup matches, while having eight assists - tied for most in the NASL. Hristov’s most memorable goal came on May 29, when the Rowdies hosted Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup. The Bulgarian forward scored the lone goal of the match in the 75th minute, when he picked up a rebound inside the 6-yard box and placed his strike in the back of the net. His goal against the three-time champions sent the Rowdies into the fourth round of the cup, where they would later face the Portland Timbers.
Chosen to the Team of the Week on seven occasions and once named Player of the Week, the Bulgarian played 22 games in 2013. Hristov was also named NASL Player of the Month in September after scoring four goals, leading the Rowdies to an unbeaten streak that stretched to 10 matches.
“Georgi was an impact player the second he arrived in preseason training in early 2013. The combination of his skill and approach to the game made him a dangerous scoring threat and the right fit for the Rowdies organization,” said Rowdies President and General Manager Andrew Nestor. “It was a top priority for us this offseason to structure a deal that worked for the club and Georgi to keep him in a Rowdies uniform for the foreseeable future.”
Prior to joining the Rowdies, Hristov saw action in Bulgaria’s first division, playing for Lokomotiv Sofia and Slavia Sofia having started his professional career with Maritsa Plovdiv. He scored more than 50 goals in the Bulgarian second division, and later become a leading goal scorer and league footballer of the year in the Bulgarian First Division with Botev Plovdiv. In 2008-2009, Hristov won the Bulgarian first division championship with Levski Sofia and competed in the UEFA Europa League.
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