U.S. Soccer unveils Young Player of Year award nominations
CHICAGO – U.S. Soccer has announced the nominees for the 2020 U.S. Soccer Young Female and Young Male Player of the Year awards.
Three nominees have also been revealed for U.S. Soccer’s Player of the Year with a Disability award.
YOUNG FEMALE AND YOUNG MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
This year there are three players up for the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year and five nominees for the U.S. Young Male Player of the Year.
All three female nominees – defender Naomi Girma and forwards Mia Fishel and Trinity Rodman – played major roles in USA’s domination of the 2020 Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship. The USA won all seven games by a 44-1 margin and qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, which in November was finally cancelled due to the pandemic. Fishel scored 13 goals in the tournament, a record for any Youth National Team player in any Concacaf competition while Rodman added eight scores and a team-leading six assists. Girma marshaled a defense that allowed just one goal.
Similar to the Male Player of the Year award, club contributions figured prominently in this year’s nominations for the nominees for Young Male Player of the Year.
The Philadelphia Union duo of midfielder Brenden Aaronson and defender Mark McKenzie both earned MLS Best XI honors as they helped the club claim its first trophy in the MLS Supporters Shield.
After a breakout start to the season with Spanish La Liga club Valencia, midfielder Yunus Musah earned his first USMNT call-up in November and became the first player to start two matches for the senior team before their 18th birthday.
Attacker Gio Reyna became a regular in the Borussia Dortmund lineup, featuring prominently in the Bundesliga and Champions League throughout 2020 before also becoming the third-youngest goal scorer in USMNT history with his opening goal against Panama on Nov. 12.
After proving crucial in Bayern Munich II’s league title, Chris Richards broke into the Bundesliga giants’ first team, earning his first Bundesliga start and assist this fall as well as his Champions League debut for the current titleholders.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR WITH A DISABILITY
Three players have been nominated for Player of the Year with a Disability in a 2020 that saw their programs significantly limited by the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S. Para 7-a-Side National Team forward Adam Ballou, 2016 Player of the Year with a Disability, is nominated after making a historic move overseas to play for Spanish club Levante. Ballou led the team in scoring and second place in the league before its season was interrupted. During the pandemic, CP Soccer youth players nationwide came together for virtual Zoom training sessions five days a week for 11 weeks during the height of the country’s stay-at-home orders. This group of players logged over 100 hours of training during the pandemic and were joined by a number of U.S. Soccer stars. Following a decorated career with the US Power Soccer National Team, co-captain Jordan Dickey also earned a nomination.