TAMPA, Fla. – USL League One today announced that Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC defender Arthur Rogers has been voted the 2023 USL League One Defender of the Year for the second consecutive season. The 27-year-old Londoner and 2023 USL League One Player of the Year finalist led the league with 90 crosses and 88 chances created - the most in a single season in league history - while adding 197 completed long passes, 189 recoveries, 170 duels won and 41 tackles won.
"Obviously, I'm very proud to win this award again," Rogers said. "It was a goal of mine coming into the season, so it helps show the hard work put in paid off. I have to give a massive credit to my teammates, we led the league in clean sheets and that’s down to the defensive unit we are from back to front! Also, my coaches and family for believing in me and giving me the trust and confidence to go out there and perform week-in, week-out. All in all, very proud and thankful for this award!"
Productive on both ends of the pitch, Rogers matched a single-season league record with his 11 assists and set a new single-season league record with 88 chances created and 168 corners taken. After just a pair of seasons and 62 regular season matches, Rogers is already the all-time league leader in assists (20), successful crosses (197), and corners taken (302). Rogers' passing score (72.48) was the highest on the season - and second-highest in league history behind his own record set a season ago - according to American Soccer Analysis.
"Winning the award once is a fantastic achievement - that's difficult enough. Winning it two years running is a magnificent achievement for Arthur," Northern Colorado Head Coach Éamon Zayed said. "He’s transformed this year. He played right back, but he also played center back a lot for us. He showed his qualities as a defender. He showed his ability to move the ball out of the back at ease.
"We all know he gets a lot of recognition for his play on the ball, but I felt off the ball he really improved this year as a defender. His one-on-one defending, battling center forwards and wingers, was really, really top-level this year. I'm delighted for Arthur. It's great recognition for him and the club. As a team, we were the best defensive unit in the whole league, so I think it’s only right that one of our players won Defender of the Year. So it's fantastic for Arthur. I'm delighted for 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 with which he is now the all-time club leader in matches played (62), minutes played (5,538), assists (20), chances created (168), duels won (313), tackles won (72), recoveries (324), blocks (20) and successful crosses (197).
Rogers received 45% of the ballot to earn the award. All-League First Team selection and first-year Omaha defender Alexis Souahy finished second on 27% with his 149 recoveries, 113 duels won and 89 clearances, while fellow All-League First Team defender Jordan Skelton finished third - via tiebreaker - on 27% with his league-leading 170 clearances and 181 duels won with Knoxville.
The 2023 USL League One Awards were voted on by club technical staffs and executives.
2023 – Arthur Rogers, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC
2021 – Damià Viader, Union Omaha
Goalkeeper of the Year: Austin Pack, Charlotte Independence
Defender of the Year: Arthur Rogers, Northern Colorado Hailstorm FC
Coach of the Year: Wednesday, Nov. 8
Young Player of the Year: Thursday, Nov. 9
Player of the Year: Friday, Nov. 10