Aaron Long's incredible rise continues, as he has been named MLS Defender of the Year for 2018.
Long, 26, has gone from trialist to 2016 USL Defender of the Year, to MLS All-Star, U.S. Men's National Team caps and MLS Defender of the Year in just three short years with the New York Red Bulls.
"It means a lot," Long said. "It is judging your body of work for the full season. It shows that I am on the right path, helping my team, doing what I can to help the team win."
The 2018 season has been a special one for Long, who helped steer the Red Bulls to the best defensive performance in franchise history and third Supporters' Shield, as he earned both his first United States Men's National Team cap and first MLS All-Star appearance.
Joining the Red Bulls prior to the 2016 season, he went on to earn USL Defender of the Year, anchoring a USL Cup championship team before jumping to MLS and cementing himself as starter in 2017.
"They really gave me a belief in myself and helped implement me into the system since Day One," Long said. "I mean they were calling me into the office to do film with me knowing there was going to be a learning curve. This club has really taken me under their wing and let me blossom under their tactics."
He continued his stellar run of form this season as the Red Bulls allowed just 33 goals in 34 MLS games and recorded 14 shutouts. Long also set career highs for goals (3) and assists (2) this season.
Long was in top 20, league-wide, in five defensive categories this season, including fourth in aerials won (101), fifth in clearances (146), eighth in duels won (176), tied for eighth in blocks (24) and 16th in interceptions (16).
Aaron Long Named MLS Defender of the Year by New York Red Bulls on Exposure