Hershey's Busch named A-League Goalkeeper of the Year
TAMPA (Sept. 25, 2001) - United Soccer Leagues announced the Goalkeeper of the Year and All-League Teams for the 2001 A-League season today.
In addition to claiming the A-League Goals-Against Average Championship award last week at 0.60, Hershey Wildcats netminder Jon Busch was named the 2001 Goalkeeper of the Year today.
"Jon, for a young player, possesses a tremendous amount of leadership," said Hershey coach Bob Lilley. "He is a very focused individual and hasn’t taken one day off the entire season, including practices. His commitment has rubbed off on many of the other players. We defend first and foremost as a team and Jon has been the final piece for us."
The Wildcats, who will begin postseason play Thursday after winning the Northern Conference in the regular season to earn a first round bye, have arguably found the missing ingredient to a championship campaign with the addition of Busch this season.
Last year’s departure of the Hampton Roads Mariners, who return in 2002, may have been the best thing for Hershey, not to mention Busch’s career. His first two seasons in Virginia Beach were solid outings with a 1.38 goals-against average over the course of 52 games. Last season, he started to garner attention, earning several call-ups and finished with a 0.94 GAA for 14 games, coming up short of the minutes played minimum for a third-place spot among the league leaders table.
In 2001, the Queens, New York native found a home in Hershey, playing in all but one game for the Wildcats. Busch posted 13 shutouts en route to the A-League’s best goals-against average of 0.60, well ahead of Rochester’s Scott Vallow at 0.97. His outstanding performance is arguably what led the Wildcats to the Northern Conference title in a tight race with the Raging Rhinos.
The acquisition of Busch propelled Hershey to the top of the league in defense with just 20 goals allowed, seven better than Rochester, which has had the league’s best defense in two of the past three years.
At 5-10, Busch has defied skeptics throughout his career. Prior to the season, he told The Patriot-News, "I don’t think I would be where I am today if I was taller. I don’t think I would have the determination of proving people wrong that say, ‘You’re too short to play.’ I’ve done a lot at 24 years old. I’ve done a lot, and hopefully I’m not done yet proving people wrong."
The Defender of the Year and Rookie of the Year will be announced Tuesday, Oct. 2.
Goalkeeper: Jon Busch (Hershey Wildcats). Defenders: Scott Schweitzer (Rochester Raging Rhinos), Rick Titus (Vancouver Whitecaps), Gilbert Jean-Baptiste (Charleston Battery). Midfielders: Philipe Godoy (Milwaukee Rampage), Stoian Mladenov (Rochester), Leighton O’Brien (Seattle Sounders), Temoc Suarez (Connecticut Wolves). Forward: Paul Conway (Charleston), Kevin Jeffrey (Richmond Kickers), Dustin Swinehart (Charlotte Eagles).
Goalkeeper: Matt Napoleon (Portland Timbers). Defenders: James Wall (Nashville Metros), Brent Sancho (Portland), Jason Annichero (Atlanta Silverbacks). Midfielders: John Ball (Charleston Battery), Lenin Steenkamp (Rochester Raging Rhinos), Kevin Knight (Richmond Kickers), Steve Kindel (Vancouver Whitecaps). Jakob Fenger (Nashville), Digital Takawira (Milwaukee Rampage), Rodrigo Costa (Indiana Blast)