The 2018 campaign for the U.S. Men’s National Team may not have gone as hoped with several bumps along the way. However, numerous young players starred this year and will look to be centerpieces for the team in the coming future.
Following the USMNT’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Italy on Tuesday, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced the Male Player of the Year nominees. Midfielders Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Wil Trapp, defender Matt Miazga, and goalkeeper Zack Steffen were the five players nominated for the award.
Each player is a first-time nominee for the award, which was given to Christian Pulisic in 2017.
Adams is the youngest of the five nominees, and made his senior debut last November against Portugal. The 19-year-old has played a key role with the New York Red Bulls, helping them to a current Supporters Shield and MLS Eastern Conference semifinal berth this weekend.
McKennie also debuted last November and started six times for the USMNT, while also seeing more first-team minutes domestically with Schalke.
Like Adams, Trapp was influential with the Columbus Crew domestically, while also making nine appearances with the National Team. He also served as captain for the bulk of 2018.
Steffen led all goalkeepers with six appearances in 2018, while keeping two clean sheets. Domestically, he was named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for the Crew, but missed out on November’s USMNT friendlies due to injury.
Despite a drop in minutes with Ligue 1 side Nantes, Miazga was the most consistent defender for the USMNT this year. He earned seven caps and will hope his positive 2018 will see him earn more minutes at club level.
The USMNT concluded its schedule with a record of 3-5-3, most recently being shutout against England and Italy. Voting for the award kicked off on Tuesday and will end on December 3rd.
National Team coaches, players who have earned at least one cap in 2018, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, MLS and USL head coaches, select media members and former players and administrators will all vote between the nominees.