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Award 1: The Richie

By definition, the Richie Award goes to the hardest working, most underrated player on the United roster. The award's namesake Richie Williams is probably most famous for his diminutive stature, but he is second most famous for his work rate. The dude just went nonstop, constantly interrupting plays for the opposing team. And yet he received much less recognition for his role in those three championships than many other players on those teams (Harkes, Agoos, Pope, Diablo, Stewart, etc).

By virtue of playing the same central defensive midfield position as Williams, Clyde Simms would probably be the favorite to win this award. He's made every start this season, and has played a critical role with the team since beating out Brian Carroll for the CDM job last year. Simms has even developed a little bit of a scoring touch this season with two goals. Nonetheless, he's still virtually unknown in the national press when compared to players like Joseph, Mastroeni, and Clark.

Challenging Simms would be our Ironman Bryan Namoff. He's played almost every minute of every match this year, and has been definitely our most consistent defender, if not also our most talented. If you're looking for proof that Namoff is underrated, look no further than the fact that he's had only 1 cap for the national team, while Marvel Wynne continues to get called up.

Also throwing his name into the race this year is Devon McTavish. This Champions Cup scoring machine has probably made more appearances in all competitions combined than any other player this year. And you can't question his work ethic when you realize that he's started in at least 3 different positions this season.

And rounding out the Richie Award nominees is a newcomer to the club Joe Vide. Since joining United in July, he's fought his way into the starting lineup and leaves it all on the field every match, even eliciting comparisons from some to Ben Olsen. Obviously the guy is underrated too when he's been cut by two lesser teams like the Red Bulls and Quakes in the last year.

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(the 2008 Benny awards)