Braun Thrilled to be Player of the Week

The young midfielder elevated

Before Tuesday, July 13th, it had been nearly two and a half years since the last time a player from Chivas USA was named MLS Player of the Week.

And then Justin Braun came along.

Braun was named MLS Player of the Week this week after impressive two-goal performances against both Kansas City and Houston. The award is his first personal recognition since becoming a pro.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Braun in an interview with MLSsoccer.com. “I’ve worked really hard and it’s nice to be recognized. The [Chivas USA] Head Coach brought me up in front of the guys at practice and told everyone. It was a great feeling.”

Braun has become a pivotal part of Chivas USA’s offense this season, making 14 appearances and leading the team with six goals. Most recently, he notched two against the Wizards to lead the Red-and-White to their first MLS victory since May 5th.

“The team has been really supportive of me,” said Braun. “It’s great to get this award, but I’m still really focused on helping Chivas get back on track and trying to make it into the playoffs.”

Braun is the first MLS Player of the Week for Chivas USA since Ante Razov was given the prize in Week 25 of 2007.

“It’s an award for me, but it’s also for the team,” said Braun. “It’s nice to be able to represent Chivas USA in this way.”

The award has given Braun a small dose of notoriety, including a poll on MLSsoccer.com asking fans what his nickname should be now that he has put himself firmly into the running for the Budweiser Golden Boot. Among the options are “LeBraun James” and “Cristiano Braunaldo,” although “Braunaldinho” has taken a solid lead.

“I like the poll,” said Braun with a laugh. “I’m happy to do whatever the fans want. If  it comes out as ‘Braunaldinho,’ then I guess it has to be ‘Braunaldinho.’”

Braun will be back in action on Thursday evening, as Chivas USA takes on Mexican First Division side Puebla FC in the opening round of the 2010 Superliga.