Athletes generally get to lift trophies only after they win a championship. But at D.C. United home games, the Man of the Match—the player fans think most distinguished himself—receives a custom trophy made by a local artist.
Toward the end of each game, D.C. United opens up voting on Twitter and Instagram, providing fans a few options for the Man of the Match. Then, at each of the 17 home contests, the winner is presented with a unique, cleat-shaped trophy designed by Trap Bob, JD Deardourff or Kelly Towles.
The trophies are made in partnership with Heineken, which works with local artists to create Man of the Match trophies for Major League Soccer teams in Miami, Atlanta, New York, and Orlando. In the 2018 season, each winner received a creatively decorated guitar.
Each of the three artists designed five or six trophies in their personal styles. Four trophies have been awarded so far.
“It’s exciting to continually be in the position to represent DC and use my art to not only celebrate DC as a whole but the amazing team of D.C. United and the players,” says Trap Bob. “After such a crazy year, it meant a lot for me to be able to contribute something.”
Made by: Trap Bob
Given to: Brendan Hines-Ike
Inspired by: “I use a lot of pink and blue in my work. They’re my favorite colors. I always love bringing them in, and I use a lot of space, alien and UFO themes,” says Trap Bob. “I love the contrast with the black background and starry sky, giving this whole out-of-this-world feel, which I think DC is, so I thought it was a great matchup.”
Awarded for: In his debut for D.C. United, centerback Hines-Ike scored the winning goal, giving the club three points to start of the season.
Made by: JD Deardourff
Given to: Edison Flores
Inspired by: “I was like, ‘What can we do that will be doable and will be cool?’ I wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel on this one. It needs to be simple and direct,” says JD Deardourff.
Awarded for: Flores scored his first career goal for D.C. United early in the first half, which was the game-winner. He also led the team with five shots and six crosses.
Made by: Kelly Towles
Given to: Paul Arriola
Inspired by: “I don’t try to complicate it too much. My thing is trying to transfer a message of happiness and good job,” says Kelly Towles. “It sounds simplistic, yet trying to design something like that is very complicated for me, designing each of these so they’re unique and different but still transfer a message.”
Awarded for: In his first start for the club since October 2019, having recovered from long-term injury, Arriola led the team with four shots, two tackles, and three fouls drawn.
Made by: Trap Bob
Given to: Adrien Perez
Inspired by: “I looked at it as a reflection of the energy in DC. I figured whoever it goes to, that person will match that energy and be excited to see the trophy and to accept it and have it represent them,” says Trap Bob.
Awarded for: In his fourth straight start for the club, Perez led the team with eight total shots, four shots on goal, and two chances created.