U.S. Soccer announces nominees for 2022 Player of the Year awards
CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer has announced the nominees for its 2022 Player of the Year awards which recognize the top performers across all its National Teams, including the Female and Male Player of the Year as well as the Young Female and Young Male Player of the Year.
The Cerebral Palsy Female and Male Player of the Year Awards will also be awarded this year. Player of the Year awards for Female and Male Beach Soccer and Futsal, and the ADAPTandTHRIVE Disability Award also return for their second consecutive year.
Fans have the opportunity to vote for the Female and Male Player of the Year as well as the Young Female and Young Male Player of the Year awards on ussoccer.com and at the links below. The fan vote will account for 15 percent of the overall vote tally with the rest coming from National Team players, coaches, media, and other constituents.
Voting begins on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. ET and concludes on Dec. 22 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The winners will then be announced in January 2023.
- VOTE NOW: 2022 Player of the Year Fan Vote
The 2022 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year nominees are midfielders Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle and forwards Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh, and Sophia Smith. U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Matt Turner, defenders Antonee Robinson and Tim Ream, midfielder Tyler Adams and forward Christian Pulisic comprise the list of Male Player of the Year Nominees.
- READ MORE: U.S. Soccer Player of the Year Bios
The Female Young Player of the Year Nominees are forwards Onyeka Gamero, Jaedyn Shaw and Alyssa Thompson, as well as midfielders Riley Jackson and Olivia Moultrie, while the finalists for the Young Male Player of the Year award are midfielders Paxten Aaronson and Yunus Musah, goalkeepers Chris Brady and Diego Kochen and defender Josh Wynder.
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
All five USWNT nominees played important roles in the team’s qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics after winning the Concacaf W Championship in Monterrey, Mexico.
As the reigning U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, Horan earned another nomination for the award after a stellar year highlighted by her USWNT accomplishments as well as winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League with Olympique Lyon. For the USWNT, Horan continued to distinguish herself as a key midfielder and leader for the USA. She started all 14 matches in which she played in 2022, going 979 minutes and scoring one goal, that coming on a slick dribbling move against Nigeria in a friendly.
Lavelle returns for a second consecutive nomination after dazzling as one of the most entertaining and productive midfielders in the world. She started in 15 of the 16 matches she played with the USA and tallied a career-high six assists on the year which ranked second overall on the team while also scoring four goals. For OL Reign, she played 1,558 minutes over 18 matches to help the club win the 2022 NWSL Shield while scoring five goals and recording one assist.
Morgan earns her seventh Player of the Year nomination overall and first since 2019 after having a historic year for club and country. Her first matches with the USWNT this year came in the Concacaf W Championship, which she kick-started with two goals in the USA’s first game of the tournament before capping it off with the game-winning goal in the championship final as she converted a penalty kick to defeat Canada 1-0. For expansion side San Diego Wave FC, Morgan scored a career-high 15 regular season goals which earned her the NWSL Golden Boot, and was a finalist for the NWSL MVP
The 24-year-old Pugh had possibly the most consistently stellar year on the USWNT, scoring seven goals with seven assists, and was perhaps the USA’s most dangerous player in the majority of matches in which she played. Her seven goals were the most she’s ever scored for the National Team in a calendar year, and her team-leading seven assists tied a career-high after she also had seven in her first year on the USWNT in 2016. Pugh had a stellar NWSL season in which she scored 11 goals and had six assists for the Chicago Red Stars and was a finalist for MVP for the second year in a row.
With a team-leading 11 international goals in 2022, the 22-year-old Smith became the youngest player to lead the USWNT in scoring in a calendar year since a 21-year-old Mia Hamm did so with 10 goals in 1993. She scored her first career hat trick on April 9 vs. Uzbekistan, becoming the youngest USWNT player since 2000 and the fifth youngest to net a hat trick in in USWNT history. Smith also scored against Colombia (2), Jamaica (2), Nigeria (2), England (in the USA’s match at a packed Wembley Stadium) and Germany (in the USA’s 2-1 win to end the year). Smith had a trophy-laden end to the NWSL season in which she was named the youngest MVP in league history after scoring 14 regular season goals. She then scored in the NWSL title game to earn Championship Game MVP honors while leading Portland Thorns FC to its third league title.
MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The five nominees played key roles as the USMNT returned to the biggest stage of all at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Adams, Pulisic, Robinson and Turner helped lead the team through a rigorous qualifying campaign, while the four as well as Ream stepped up to help the USMNT advance from one of the most difficult groups at the World Cup into the knockout rounds.
Adams earns his third Player of the Year nomination after being a near constant in the USMNT lineup during 2022. Chosen by his teammates to captain the side at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 23-year-old was the youngest player across 32 teams to wear the armband in Qatar and earned Man of the Match honors in the team’s first two games. On the club front, Adams has been a powerful signing for Leeds United this season after joining on a $24 million transfer from RB Leipzig during the summer.
Already a three-time winner of the award, Christian Pulisic earns his third consecutive nomination and fifth overall. The dynamic attacker showed his consistency throughout 2022, jointly tying for the team lead with five goals and leading the team with three assists, which were highlighted by his first career hat trick in World Cup qualifying plus a goal and an assist during the World Cup group stage. On the club front, Pulisic played in 39 games while score six goals with five assists across all competitions for Chelsea prior to the FIFA World Cup break.
After more than a year away from the USMNT, 35-year-old Ream returned to give a hero’s performance during the 2022 FIFA World Cup and was one of just three players to feature in every minute of the USA’s campaign. On the club side, Ream captains Fulham and appeared in every match of the club’s run to the 2021-22 EFL Championship title and promotion into the Premier League.
Robinson earns his first POTY nomination after locking down the left back spot in 2021 and finishing for the team’s joint lead in World Cup Qualifying appearances with 13. He also scored in World Cup Qualifying to earn the USA a crucial 1-0 win against El Salvador and tallied two assists in the team’s 5-1 win against Panama. Robinson then started in all four matches in Qatar. On the club front, he appeared in 18 league matches, registering a goal and assist in the second half of the 2021-22 campaign to help Fulham claim the 2021-22 EFL Championship title and automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Turner finished the year with 11 appearances. His seven overall clean sheets tie for third most ever in a calendar year for a USMNT goalkeeper. In Qatar, Turner was one of three players to feature in all 360 minutes of the tournament for the USMNT, with his shutouts in the group stage making him just the second U.S. goalkeeper to keep two clean sheets in one edition of the FIFA World Cup. On the club front, Turner made five appearances with the New England Revolution in the first half of 2022 before securing a $10 million transfer to English Premier League side Arsenal during the summer.
YOUNG FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
One of the most dynamic players to come along in years, Gamero was a standout player for the U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team, scoring six goals and tallying eight assists while also leading the USA to a triumphant run a the 2022 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship.
One of the co-captains for the U-17 WYNT, Jackson scored two goals and recorded three assists from her defensive midfield position in the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship and her dominant overall play earned her the Golden Ball as the best player of the tournament.
Moultrie was one of the USA’s most consistent players at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica where she started all three games in midfield and recorded one assist. At the 2022 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, she started five matches and scored five goals while posting two assists. On the club side, she helped the Thorns win the NWSL Championship.
Shaw ended the year with seven U-20 caps and three goals, appearing in all three of the USA’s U-20 Women’s World Cup matches. Shaw made her NWSL debut on July 30 at Soldier Field against the Chicago Red Stars and scored her first professional goal, the game-winner, just 28 minutes into the match. At age 17, she became the youngest player to score in her first National Women’s Soccer League match.
Thompson was one of the standout players at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, scoring a goal and recording an assist before earning her first call-up to the senior National Team for their matches against England and Spain, where she became the 70th teenager all-time to earn a cap for the USWNT. She also scored four goals in eight caps for the U-20 WYNT.
YOUNG MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Paxten Aaronson helped lead the USA at the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship to its third-straight confederation title, its first men’s Olympic berth since 2008 and a ticket to the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Aaronson won both the Golden Boot for his seven goals in the tournament and the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.
Chris Brady backstopped the U-20 MYNT in its stellar performance at the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship, starting in six straight games during the team’s title run and winning the Golden Glove as the competition’s best goalkeeper after allowing no goals in the knockout rounds.
Diego Kochen started five of the U-17s’ eight matches of the year, including two of three at May’s UEFA Development Tournament in Portugal where the USA topped the table against Italy, Belgium and Portugal.
Yunus Musah earns his third-straight nomination for U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year. The second-youngest player on the U.S. World Cup roster, the then 19-year-old Musah became the first teenager to start a World Cup match for the USMNT against Wales, while his start in the next contest against England made him the only teenager to appear in multiple World Cup games for the team. On the club front, Musah registered 39 appearances and one goal and two assists across all competitions for Spanish La Liga side Valencia during the 2022 calendar year.
Josh Wynder was a steady defensive presence as the U-19 MYNT returned to the field for the first time since 2018. Wynder appeared in all five matches for the U-19s and captained the squad twice during the team’s undefeated campaign while recording one assist. At the club level, he enjoyed a breakthrough season for Louisville City FC in the USL Championship, helping the team to reach the Eastern Conference Final and starting in the championship match.
U.S. SOCCER CP FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The nominees for CP Female Player of the Year are Michelle Cross, Catarina Guimarães, and Annie Wickett. Cross was the only player to feature in every minute of the USA’s World Cup triumph. Guimarães was the leading goal scorer for the USA in 2022 and earned MVP honors at the IFCPF World Cup, while Wickett displayed her versatility in crucial moments, playing as both a forward and goalkeeper.
U.S. SOCCER CP MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The CP Male Player of the Year nominees are Sean Boyle, John Sullivan, and Jonah Meyer-Crothers. Boyle was a strong presence in goal and helped lead the U.S. to a fourth-place finish at the IFCPF World Cup in Spain. Sullivan had his most impactful season for the CP MNT with strong distribution and ball-winning skills across consistent performances, while Meyer-Crothers scored a hat trick in the team’s 3-0 win against Netherlands to advance the team to its first-ever World Cup semifinal appearance.
The nominees for Beach Female Player of the Year are Ali Hall, who earns her second consecutive nomination after displaying tremendous defensive prowess and versatility to contribute anywhere on the field, Lauren Leslie, who is one of the most lethal attackers in front of goal and earned Tournament MVP honors in El Salvador with four goals in three games, and Kilee Quigley, who also earns a second nomination after scoring key goals for the team and punishes opponents through her work rate and combination play.
The Beach Male Player of the Year nominees are Chris Albiston, whose tenacious defending has made him one of the USA’s most consistent players, Nico Perea, who earns a second consecutive nomination for his fierce play on both sides of the ball, and Chris Toth, one of the top beach goalkeepers in the world and the winner of Best Goalkeeper honors in the Mundialito in the Canary Islands in August.
The Futsal nominees include Diego Burato, a standout in his international debut with the team in Croatia, where he tallied two goals and three assists in seven games. Robert Damron joins the list after appearing in two matches and saving two penalty kicks in a 5-3 win against Slovenia, and Zachary Reget, who scored six goals in five appearances and exemplified leadership with the team in Croatia.
The ADAPTandTHRIVE Disability Award recognizes an individual making an impact in the United States’ broad landscape of disability soccer. The nominees for the second edition of the award are Shawn Danhouser, who serves on the Board for Diversity and Inclusion in Soccer with the US Soccer Coaches community, David Robinson, who has chaired the US Youth Soccer TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer) Committee, and Katie Smith, recently named the first-ever head coach of the USA Men’s Blind Soccer National Team.