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Pulisic, Smith, Musah headline U.S. Soccer Player of the Year finalists


Christian Pulisic, Sophia Smith, and Yunus Musah are among 15 finalists that have been nominated for three different U.S. Soccer awards on Thursday.

Joining Pulisic on the list for the Male Player of the Year are Tyler Adams, Antonee Robinson, Matt Turner, and Tim Ream. All five players featured in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, helping the Americans reach the Round of 16 in their first tournament involvement since 2014.

The 24-year-old Pulisic scored the winning goal for the USMNT in a 1-0 group stage victory over Iran while also assisting in matches against Wales and the Netherlands. Pulisic has also contributed seven goals and five assists in 2022 for English Premier League side Chelsea.

Adams was named team captain ahead of the World Cup and excelled as one of the top players for the Americans. The 23-year-old earned a monumental transfer to Leeds United this summer and has made 13 appearances for Jesse Marsch’s squad since.

Robinson has remained a regular starter for Fulham following the club’s promotion back to the Premier League. The 25-year-old left back has made 30 combined appearances for Fulham in 2022 and featured in all four of the USMNT’s World Cup matches.

Turner earned a European transfer of his own in 2022, joining English Premier League side Arsenal from the New England Revolution. The 28-year-old has solidified his role as the No. 1 goalkeeper in Gregg Berhalter’s squad, while also registering three clean sheets in four starts for Arsenal in UEFA Europa League action.

Ream, 35, has remained a stalwart for Fulham this season, making 15 league starts in the London club’s return to the top flight. The veteran centerback also featured in all four of the USMNT’s World Cup matches.

Sophia Smith, Rose Lavelle headline Female Player of the Year finalists

A total of five U.S. women’s national team players are up for the annual Female Player of the Year award with Sophia Smith, Rose Lavelle, and Alex Morgan among the finalists.

Smith led the USWNT with 11 goals during 2022, making her the youngest to earn that honor since Mia Hamm in 1993. In addition to her USWNT success, 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 also helped the Portland Thorns win the NWSL Championship by scoring in the final.

Lavelle started 15 of the 16 matches she played with the USWNT, tallying a career-high six assists. She also scored four goals on the international level. in the NWSL, Lavelle helped OL Reign win the 2022 NWSL Shield while scoring five goals and recording one assist.

Lindsey Horan excelled for club and country, winning the UEFA Women’s Champions League with Lyon and helping the USWNT clinch its World Cup berth in style. Horan started all 14 matches for the USWNT in 2022, totaling 979 minutes and scoring one goal.

Alex Morgan earned her seventh Player of the Year nomination overall and first since 2019. Morgan tallied 15 goals in the NWSL with expansion side San Diego Wave FC, earning her the league’s Golden Boot and helping her finish as a finalist for the league’s MVP award. She also scored three goals for the USWNT during the Concacaf W Championship, including the winner against Canada in the finals.

Mallory Pugh totaled seven goals with seven assists for the USWNT in 2022, continuing his rise with the national team. Pugh had a stellar NWSL season in which she scored 11 goals and added six assists for the Chicago Red Stars. She was an MVP finalist for the second year in a row.

Musah leads finalists for Young Male POY award

It will be a first-time winner for the U.S. Young Male Player of the Year award with three finalists coming from Europe, one from MLS, and one from the USL Championship.

Valencia’s Yunus Musah, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Paxten Aaronson, and Louisville City’s Josh Wynder have all been named as finalists for the award.

Musah has continued to grow as a regular with the USMNT after starting all four matches at the World Cup. The 20-year-old has also registered two assists in 11 La Liga appearances this season with Valencia. This marks Musah’s third-straight nomination for the Young Male Player of the Year award.

Aaronson just recently earned a permanent transfer to Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt after coming through the Philadelphia Union academy ranks. The brother of current USMNT midfielder Brenden, Paxten won the Golden Boot at the Concacaf U-20 Championship this past summer. Aaronson totaled seven goals in seven appearances as the USMNT U-20’s captured the title.

Wynder, 17, has emerged as a top prospect within the U.S. Youth national team ranks after impressing with Louisville City in the USL Championship. Wynder scored two goals in 27 combined appearances this past season for Louisville, helping the club reach the league final.

Chicago Fire goalkeeper Chris Brady backstopped the USMNT U-20’s in its stellar performance at the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship. Brady started in six straight games for Mikey Varas’ squad, winning the Golden Glove as the competition’s best goalkeeper. He is currently in line to compete for the starting job with the Chicago Fire following Gabriel Slonina’s transfer to Chelsea.

Diego Kochen is currently part of FC Barcelona’s academy. Kochen, 16, started five of the USMNT U-17’s eight matches in 2022, including two at May’s UEFA Development Tournament in Portugal. The Americans topped the table against Italy, Belgium and Portugal.

Votes for U.S. Soccer Player of the Year awards are collected from respective National Team coaches, National Team players who have earned a cap in 2022, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, National Women’s Soccer League head coaches for the USWNT and American soccer league (MLS and USL) head coaches for the USMNT, select media members and former players and administrators. In addition, select college coaches vote for the USWNT award.


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