TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced that Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC defender Arthur Rogers was voted the 2022 USL League One Defender of the Year. Even with his strong defensive play, Rogers set a new single-season league record with 80 chances created in an incredibly productive first season in Windsor. The 26-year-old Englishman’s nine assists were the second-most on the season and most by a defender in a single season in league history.
“Of course, this is a very special award to me,” Rogers said. “This is my first year fully playing as a defender, so this is a really big compliment, and I’m very appreciative. But none of it would ever be possible without the help of my teammates and coaches throughout the years, so I‘m very thankful to them too.”
In a breakout 2022 campaign, the 26-year-old London-born defender enjoyed an ultra-productive first season in Windsor with a career-best nine assists – three of which resulted in match-winning goals. Rogers’ league-record 80 chances created – comfortably the most by a defender in league history – helped the Hailstorm to the fifth-most goals in their debut campaign. Defensively, Rogers excelled with a team-high 121 duels won and 25 tackles won.
“First and foremost, everybody associated with the Hailstorm – especially the coaching staff – are delighted that Arthur has been recognized with this honor, Hailstorm Head Coach Éamon Zayed said. “Arthur epitomizes what we are trying to do here. We want to bring in players that are willing to work, that are willing to learn and listen, and we can develop into better players. Arthur came in this year a good player, with experience in a number of positions. This year he’s really excelled and become a variable player and really made that right back position his own, and deservedly with his performances as the best defender in the league.
“I’m extremely proud as a coach to have gotten Arthur in and worked with him. He’s been a delight to work with, he’s a coach’s dream. He wants to come in every day and work hard, and he’s always someone that will listen and wants to get better. As a coach, that’s all you want from a player. He’ll come in every single day in training and give 100% effort and dedication to getting better. He obviously helped us a lot this year, and I’m very proud of him.”
Rogers began his soccer career back home in London with semi-professional sides Hanwell Town FC and Wealdstone FC before playing collegiately in the United States with Kentucky Wesleyan College and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Rogers signed his first professional contract with USL Championship side Hartford Athletic in December 2019 and made his professional debut in July 2020. Rogers amassed 41 appearances and three goals with Hartford over a pair of seasons before joining expansion side Northern Colorado ahead of its inaugural 2022 campaign.
Rogers received 59% of the ballot to earn the award. First-time All-League defender Jalen Crisler finished second on 22% with his season-high 154 clearances for Richmond, while fellow All-League First Team Defender Daniel Navarro finished third on 19% with his strong finish to the season with Chattanooga.
USL League One Defender of the Year
2022 – Arthur Rogers, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC
2021 – Damià Viader, Union Omaha
2020 – Brandon Fricke, Greenville Triumph SC
2019 – Conner Antley, South Georgia Tormenta FC
2022 USL League One Awards
Goalkeeper of the Year: Rashid Nuhu, Union Omaha
Defender of the Year: Arthur Rogers, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC
Young Player of the Year: Wednesday, Nov. 2
Comeback Player of the Year: Wednesday, Nov. 2
Coach of the Year: Thursday, Nov. 3
Most Valuable Player: Friday, Nov. 4