New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston was voted the 2013 MLS Comeback Player of the Year on Monday after his courageous battle with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare but treatable form of leukemia, this season.
Alston, 25, was diagnosed with CML on April 8, 2013, after feeling unwell. With no cure for CML, Alston underwent four-and-a-half months of treatment, all while remaining a constant presence around the team at training. After he was cleared to slowly begin workouts in late May, he returned to MLS competition on July 27 in D.C. – in his hometown and in front of almost 100 friends and family.
“Kevin has been an inspiration for our entire organization this year,” Revolution president Brian Bilello said. “It was a shock to everyone to hear that someone so young and fit could be hit with this disease, but Kevin approached his treatment with such a tremendous attitude that it was no surprise that he returned to the field so quickly.”
Alston started the first four games this year before receiving his CML diagnosis and then made two starts in five appearances after returning to action this fall.
The MLS Comeback Player of the Year is determined through league-wide voting of players, media and executive staff, and honors an MLS player who has overcome injuries and/or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2013 regular season.
Alston is the team’s first Comeback Player of the Year in Revolution club history. This season, he joins Revolution teammates Jose Goncalves (Defender of the Year) and Matt Reis (Humanitarian of the Year) as MLS award winners.