SBI’s MLS Defender of the Year: Jamison Olave

Jamison Olave (

Real Salt Lake fielded the stingiest defense in Major League Soccer and the anchor of that defense was Colombian centerback Jamison Olave. The imposing defender put together the best season of his three-year MLS career, a season that helped him earn SBI MLS Defender of the Year honors.

Olave was a unanimous choice among SBI voters, garnering all six first-place votes. He beat out Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez and FC Dallas fullback Heath Pearce, who finished second and third respectively in the voting.

Olave anchored a record-setting defense that allowed just 20 goals all season. He and Nat Borchers combined to form the best central defense in MLS, helping goalkeeper Nick Rimando post 14 shutouts. Olave started in 27 matches for RSL, scoring three goals.

What did you think of our selection? Who was your Defender of the Year selection?

Share your thoughts below.

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25 Responses to SBI’s MLS Defender of the Year: Jamison Olave

  1. Oog says:

    I think Borchers is the better choice. But, seeing as he wasn’t in the top 3 choices, that theory is out. Borchers is the anchor of the back line. Olave makes too many mistakes for me for him to be the best defender on RSL. But, his physicality and no nonsense defending sure is fun to watch. Olave says no!

  2. Neruda says:

    Great, SBI just jinxed Olave for getting this award from MLS now. Now it will go to Omar G.

    MLS awards are akin to FIFA rankings anyways.

    (SBI-Given the fact that many votes were cast by players/coaches/gm in mid-season I would bet on Gonzalez winning the league award.)

  3. Kaiser says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Olave is a foul machine, and can make costly mistakes. He’s not even the best defender on his own team.

    (SBI-Olave’s time in MLS has seem him make mistakes and commit fouls, but this year he has stepped it up and cleaned up his game considerably. You’re description of him sounds like you’re stuck in 2009, early 09. He committed 30 fouls this year, not much more than one a game. hardly the numbers of a “foul machine”. Borchers had a great year as well, but the consensus is Olave was better.)

  4. Neruda says:

    SBI, If this is voted mid-season then why is it billed as an award encompassing the whole MLS regular season? Also will you admit that these MLS awards are kinda of silly? Andy Najar over Ream? C’mon, admit it.

  5. jp992751 says:

    Let’s not pretend that Borchers is immune to the mistakes I can think of plenty of bad passes and pass backs to Rimando that have led directly to a goal. Olave stuggled in the past but really cleaned himself up this year. If you want further evidence of defensive lapses look at how Olave closes down defenders and Borchers lays off defenders which led directly to Avilas goal last week. Borchers is good but Olave is better.

  6. Brennan says:

    Well at least on can depend on SBI to give us deserving winners.

  7. einar says:

    I think Borchers deserves it more than Olave and Gonzalez. And i am a LAG fan and colombian! but i will most likely go to gonzalez. to me gonzalez had a better year than olave. unlike olave, gonzalez doesnt need to throw around milton rodriguez in the box to defend him. But borchers has done more than gonzalez this year from what i have seen

  8. go usa says:

    If you like the Dema Kovalenko school of defending, Olave’s your guy.

  9. Brian says:

    leg breaking?

  10. Tim M. says:

    If votes were cast early in the season, i guess then i can see how Ricketts gots the best GLK award. But even then, Hartman probably played better.

  11. Andrew says:

    Olave makes Borchers much better. Much more than the other way around. Good pick.

  12. football lee says:

    Borchers is so overrated, i dont see how he is even in the conversation. he consistently backs down to defenders and gives them too much space… Rimando is always telling them to close down space. thats how Avila scored last week at PHP in Dallas

  13. Thor says:

    No love for Ryan Franklin…dude is highly under rated.

  14. skinnyj says:

    Olave says “yes”.

    Cmon guys if I hear people suggest Borchers is better than Olave I’m going to vomit. Our little group has really watched Nat over the last few years, and we call him “under the radar Borchers” due to all the goals that have been scored by a man he was nearest- and yet he seems to get no bad pub. Even Avilla’s goal, as there were several players beat, Nat deftly turned out of the way- don’t want to get hit with the ball! That is typical. Anyway, Nat is usually solid, but better than Olave? No way Jose.

  15. Zero Cool says:

    Dema’s watching you…

  16. Andrew says:

    For defender of the year? Really?

  17. Kaiser says:


    OK, so maybe the “foul machine” is a bit much (though maybe I am influenced by how hard some of those fouls are), and I agree he is a good defender, but I don’t see him as that rock around which a defense is built. He and Borchers share that role (granted in the league’s top D), and often I see Borchers as the more important guy in that duo…often it is Borchers who is chosen to mark the other team’s top striker in tough situations.

  18. Jason says:

    Kaiser, either you haven’t seen much of RSL playing this year or you have never played soccer at a highly competitive level.

    Olave is the type of defender that opposing strikers absolutely hate playing against. He does all of the little things that most good defenders wish they could do. He is possibly the fastest defender in the league and not to mention a beast in the air.

    As an RSL season ticket holder I have watched every game this year, and he not Borchers, is the defender put on the other teams best forward. He does make mistakes but he more then makes up for them with the coverage that he provides every other player on RSL.

  19. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    I think you mean Sean Franklin. He’s good but I can think of at least seven defenders who are better.

  20. Mattmatumbo says:

    Brought the lolz.

  21. RK says:

    27 saves isn’t that great.

  22. Groundskeeper Willy says:

    Olave is like a Center Back and a virtual Sweeper at the same time. His closing speed is ridiculous. He fights through insane knee pain.

    I really hope he wins the MLS award.

  23. Jesse says:

    Well deserved. Take your pick Borchers and Olave were both outstanding. I like the Olave choice, because his mental game has improved so much. He always had the physical tools to be great, but his mental toughness and concentration has made it happen.

  24. Jesse says:

    Borchers is a great defender. A team doesn’t allow 20 goals over 30 games with a suspect center back. It just doesn’t happen. He is a perfect foil to Olave.

  25. JJ says:

    Jeff Parke. Think where Seattle would be if, after Hurtado went down, we had Ianni and MARSHALL in the back. Parke (and Alonso) has saved the Sounders season (along with a little help from Montero, Zakuani, Nyassi, NKufo, Sturgis, Fernandez, Riley, etc.)