The Harksey Award, which is the antepenultimate Benny Award, is presented to the best leader on D.C. United for the past year. It is named, of course, after former captain for life of the USMNT and D.C. United star John Harkes who, despite his indiscretions, was a leader both on and off the field (However, I may consider a change if the nominations are good enough). Past winners of this award include Ben Olsen (twice), Santino Quaranta, and Chris Pontius.
1. Perry Kitchen: Kitchen has been nominated for a number of awards so far, but has yet to win any of them. However, I believe that his leadership surpasses all of his other qualities. He seems to be the hardest working player on the team, he has bulked up tremendously since his rookie season, he did not get injured this year, and he is a captain in waiting for this team. Throughout this horrible season, Kitchen was the player to whom I looked to see consistent performance and his willingness to go wherever he is asked on the field only furthers that thought.
2. John Thorrington: With Dwayne De Rosario suspended for the first two games of the season, it was John Thorrington who stepped in and provided that veteran experience that this team so badly needed. And when DeRo proved ineffective down the stretch, it was again Thorrington who stepped up. While injuries left him often on the sideline, his presence on the field was calming and he helped lead the team to the US Open Cup championship.
3. LEWIS NEAL: While injuries might further disqualify him, LEWIS NEAL is the consummate professional: he doesn't complain, and he makes the most out of any opportunity that is given to him, even if it is only for a few minutes. And then there was that goal as well...
4. Bill Hamid: When you mention the name of Bill Hamid, you don't necessarily think of a leader. Some of you may think of him as a hothead who lets his emotions get the best of him. But this year he was able to keep the emotions in check (no red cards!) while not sacrificing his obvious passion for the team and for the game.