Atlanta United’s Giakoumakis named MLS Newcomer of Year

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis (7) reacts after scoring his team’s fourth goal against Inter Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Atlanta. Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis (7) reacts after scoring his team’s fourth goal against Inter Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, in Atlanta. Miguel Martinez /

Atlanta United striker Giorgos Giakoumakis was voted the MLS Newcomer of the Year, the league announced Thursday.

Giakoumakis, signed from Celtic before the season, scored 17 goals in helping the Five Stripes reach the MLS playoffs.

“To be nominated as Newcomer of the season, it’s something really nice,” he said. “It’s a prize that of course I care about and I really appreciate.”

Giakoumakis received an average of 45.78% of the votes, more than Miami’s Lionel Messi (27.28%) and St. Louis’ Eduard Lowen (15.44%). Giakoumakis received 34.34% of the players’ votes, 46.34% of the coaches’ and executives’ votes, and 56.65% of the media’s votes. Messi received 35.54% of the players’ votes.

Giakoumakis is the third Atlanta United player to win the award. Thiago Almada (2022) and Miguel Almiron (2017) were the team’s previous winners.

Giakoumakis thanked his teammates for helping him win the award.

“Many, many people assisted my goals this season,” he said. “But it goes to every single player in this game because we have to start from the build up from behind, get the ball up front and then then we’ll be able to score. So I think everyone played this role in order to help me help me to win this prize, every single player and even the staff.”

Giakoumakis said he wasn’t surprised by his success in his first season in MLS. He said he studied the league and Atlanta United before he signed. Now, he said his next goal is to help the team win the MLS Cup.

Giakoumakis’ physical style and versatility were well-suited for manager Gonzalo Pineda’s style of play. Giakoumakis’ size and strength made him an outlet for long balls. His willingness to come back to the play to create one-touch sequences with teammates also helped break pressure. And he could score with either foot or his head. He scored nine times with his right foot, two with his left and six with his head.

“Nothing else can make me more happy than winning the league,” he said.

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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1

March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0

March 18 Atlanta United 5, Portland 1

March 25 Columbus 6, Atlanta United 1

April 1 Atlanta United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

April 8 Atlanta United 1, New York City FC 1

April 15 Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2

April 23 Atlanta United 2, Chicago 1

April 29 Nashville SC 3, Atlanta United 1

May 6 Inter Miami CF 2, Atlanta United 1

May 13 Charlotte 3, Atlanta United 1

May 17 Atlanta United 4, Colorado 0

May 20 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 3

May 27 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1

May 31 Atlanta United 3, New England 3

June 7 Atlanta United 0, LAFC 0

June 10 Atlanta United 3, D.C. United 1

June 21 Atlanta United 2, New York City 2

June 24 New York Red Bulls 4, Atlanta United 0

July 2 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 0

July 8 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

July 12 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

July 15 Orlando City 2, Atlanta United 1

July 25 Miami 4, Atlanta United 0 in Leagues Cup

July 29 Cruz Azul 1 (5), Atlanta United (4) 1 in Leagues Cup

Aug. 20 Atlanta United 2, Seattle 0

Aug. 26 Atlanta United 4, Nashville 0

Aug. 30 Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

Sept. 2 Atlanta United 2, FC Dallas 2

Sept. 16 Atlanta United 5, Inter Miami 2

Sept. 20 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 1

Sept. 23 Atlanta United 4, Montreal 1

Oct. 4 Philadelphia 3, Atlanta United 2

Oct. 7 Atlanta United 1, Columbus 1

Oct. 21 Atlanta United 2, Cincinnati 2