CHICAGO (Nov. 20, 2014) – Goalkeeper Tim Howard has been voted the 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year, with the announcement taking place earlier today live on ESPN’s SportsCenter. This is Howard’s second time winning AOTY, previously earning the honor in 2008.
The three-time FIFA World Cup veteran becomes the fifth player to win Male Athlete of the Year on multiple occasions, joining defender Marcelo Balboa (1992, 1994), goalkeeper Kasey Keller (1997, 1999 and 2005), forward Landon Donovan (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2010) and forward Clint Dempsey (2007, 2011 and 2012).
“It’s an honor. I know the winners on the list who have come before me, so it’s special to have my name up there,” Howard said on SportsCenter. “The whole ride with the team for about a month and a half, when we got together for training camp and we flew down to Brazil, we had a really good time and that made 2014 so special to me.”
A new voting process took place this year, with votes collected from Men’s National Team players earned a cap in 2014, Men’s National Team and Youth Men’s National Team coaches, Major League Soccer and North American Soccer League head coaches and select former players, administrators and media members.
Howard received 64 percent of the tabulated votes, followed by Jermaine Jones (19 percent) and Kyle Beckerman (11 percent).
This year, Howard became the USA’s all-time leader in career wins with 55 (breaking Keller’s record of 53) and goalkeeper appearances with 104 (breaking Keller’s record of 102). Howard also had a memorable 2014 FIFA World Cup that included a tournament-record 15 saves during the USA’s 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium in the first knockout round on July 1.
The U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year has been awarded since 1984, when midfielder Rick Davis earned the first Athlete of the Year honor.
Also on Thursday, U.S. Soccer unveiled its nominees for 2014 Young Male Athlete of the Year, Young Female Athlete of the Year and Disabled Athlete of the Year. The nominees in each category are:
- Young Male Athlete of the Year Nominees: Mukwelle Akale, midfielder; Emerson Hyndman, midfielder; Christian Pulisic, midfielder; Haji Wright, forward; DeAndre Yedlin, defender (A Look at the Nominees)
- Young Female Athlete of the Year Nominees: Morgan Brian, midfielder; Rose Lavelle, midfielder; Samantha Mewis, midfielder; Mallory Pugh, midfielder; Katelyn Rowland, goalkeeper (A Look at the Nominees)
- Disabled Athlete of the Year Nominees: Meghan Maiwald, Deaf Soccer; Natalie Russo, Power Soccer; Gavin Sibayan, Paralympic Soccer (A Look at the Nominees)
The nominees for U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year will be unveiled in the coming days.
Photos from Tim Howard's 2014 season with the U.S. Men's National Team. Howard was voted U.S. Soccer's 2014 Male Athlete of the Year, the second time he has earned U.S. Soccer's most prestigious player award in his international career; he also earned the honor in 2008.
Meghan Maiwald, Deaf Soccer
Meghan Maiwald is the starting goalkeeper, co-captain and an eight-year veteran with the U.S. Women’s Deaf National Team. In addition, Maiwald just recently completed her fourth season with the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s California Storm and is currently in her first season as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer team at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She previously served as an undergraduate assistant for San Jose State University’s women’s soccer team in 2013. The 24-year-old also is the current women’s representative for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and was a 2013 U.S. Soccer Disabled Athlete of the Year finalist and Deaflympics gold medalist. In 2012, Maiwald helped the USA to a Deaf World Cup title, contributing seven shutouts, one assist and only two goals allowed in nine appearances. A two-year Division I student-athlete at SJSU, Maiwald left a mark in the Spartans’ record books, placing second all-time in goals against average, third in solo shutouts and fifth in saves.
Natalie Russo, Power Soccer
An 11-year veteran in soccer, Natalie Russo has most recently continued her U.S. Power Soccer National Team success by being named to the 2015 Team USA roster. A native of Carmel, Indiana, Russo has represented the USA on various occasions internationally, including as part of the U.S. National Team that competed at the first COPA Americas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this past May and brought home the gold medal. She earned the golden boot award, scoring 19 goals in the competition. She also scored 48 goals for her club team, the Circle City Rollers last season over a span of 21 games.
Gavin Sibayan, Paralympic Soccer
Gavin Sibayan, a retired U.S. Army staff sergeant who served in Iraq, played in every game of the 2014 Americas Cup in Canada this past September to help the U.S. Paralympic National Team earn the bronze medal in the tournament. In the third-place match against Canada at the University of Toronto, Sibayan led the USA with two goals as the team went on to win 3-0 and claim its spot on the medal stand. He also helped lead the U.S. PNT to the silver medal at the Barcelona Invitational International this year. A dual-threat at defense or in the midfield, Sibayan has been a part of the National Team since 2012 and represented the USA at the 2012 Paralympic Games, helping the Red, White and Blue to an eighth-place finish.
U-18 MNT Midfielder, Mukwelle Akale - Bio
In a rare feat for any player, Akale earned a pair of MVP honors at two international tournaments with the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team in 2014. The former U.S. U-17 Residency player and Minnesota Thunder Academy product was named MVP during the 2014 Copa del Atlantico in February, becoming just the second player from outside Spain or the Canary Islands to receive the award since its inception in 2009. Akale followed up with top player honors at the 21st International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek in the Czech Republic. In the latter tournament, the 17-year-old Akale scored the lone goal during the USA’s 1-0 victory against Ukraine in the championship match on Aug. 23.
U-20, U-23 & MNT Midfielder, Emerson Hyndman - Bio
The 18-year-old Dallas native had a groundbreaking year. He was called in by Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann for multiple camps and made his MNT debut during the USA’s 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3. Hyndman has represented both the U-23 and U-20 Men’s National Teams this are, helping both squads in their preparation for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Championship and 2016 Summer Olympics, respectively. He started for the U-23 MNT in its Oct. 14 match against Brazil in Brasilia and earned his first two U-20 MNT caps during the USA’s November trip to Spain for the 2014 U-21 Marbella Tournament, starting against Russia’s U-21s and the Republic of Ireland’s U-20 national team. Hyndman made his English Championship debut with Fulham in mid-August and has earned regular starts as a central midfielder for the club. Hyndman is a former member of the FC Dallas Academy and the grandson of former FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman.
U-17 MNT Midfielder, Christian Pulisic - Bio
Since earning MVP honors during a championship run at the 2013 Nike International Friendlies last December, the 16-year-old playmaker maintained his well-rounded game throughout 2014 with the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team. Prior to the U-17 MNT’s trip to Chile for the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins, Pulisic tallied 12 goals and six assists in 16 international matches this year. The PA Classics product had a particularly strong performance at the third Copa Mexico de Naciones in August, leading the USA with six goals, opening with a hat trick against China PR. Pulisic is a former member of the U-17 MNT Residency Program.
U-17 MNT Forward, Haji Wright - Bio
Wright has been the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team’s top scoring presence over the past year. Heading into the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins in Chile, Wright led the U-17s with 15 goals in 16 international matches, as well as five assists. For his U-17 MNT tenure, the former LA Galaxy Academy striker has accumulated 21 goals in 20 matches. Wright has three hat tricks this year, including a four-goal game against Montenegro. Additionally, Wright has featured for the U.S. U-18 MNT this year, winning a championship title at the 21st International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek in the Czech Republic in mid-August. Wright is a former member of the U-17 MNT Residency Program.
MNT Defender, DeAndre Yedlin - Bio
Yedlin’s star has risen for the past two years, but it was his performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup that took his game and career to another level. Yedlin earned three caps and provided 115 effective minutes off the bench in both an outside back and midfield role as the U.S. Men’s National Team advanced out of the “Group of Death” in Brazil. Yedlin was one of seven players to make at least 10 appearances for the MNT this year, earning his first start during the USA’s 1-1 draw against Ecuador on Oct. 10. Additionally, the Seattle Sounders FC Academy product earned a transfer to English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur through his play for club and country this year.
U-23 & WNT Midfielder, Morgan Brian - Bio
Morgan Brian had an excellent year for college and country as she was the youngest player on the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2014. She earned 13 of her 16 career caps this year while making nine starts. She also scored twice for the National Team (upping her career total to three goals), finding the net against Russia and against Haiti during the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament. Morgan, who also played for the U.S. Under-23s this year, missed eight games for the University of Virginia due to her WNT commitments, but still managed to score seven goals with 10 assists to help lead the Cavaliers to a No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, where in the first round she tied an NCAA single-game record with five assists.
U-20 WNT Midfielder, Rose Lavelle - Bio
One of the top players for the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team, the two-way midfielder was the MVP of the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands, where she helped the USA qualify for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. She played every minute of all four World Cup matches for the U.S. and scored her first World Cup goal against China PR during group play. After returning to the University of Wisconsin, she helped the Badgers to an 18-2-2 overall regular-season record and a No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. She played in all 22 games for Wisconsin, scoring three goals with nine assists, and was named First-Team All-Big Ten.
U-20 & WNT Midfielder, Samantha Mewis - Bio
The six-foot center midfielder had a spectacular senior season at UCLA, scoring 12 goals with 11 assists during the regular season while leading the Bruins to an 18-0-2 record and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. She was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year while ranking first in all conference scoring categories. She picked up another goal and an assist in UCLA’s NCAA first-round victory. For the USA, after playing in three youth Women’s World Cups over the years, she made her senior team debut at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, playing in two matches with one start while becoming one half of just the second sister tandem (along with Kristie Mewis) in U.S. history to play for the WNT.
U-17 & U-20 WNT Midfielder, Mallory Pugh - Bio
The 16-year-old Pugh had a busy year, representing both the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team, for which she scored four international goals (and finished her U-17 career with 15 goals in 12 U-17 caps) and the U-20 Women’s National Team at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. As the USA’s youngest player, she started in all four World Cup matches despite suffering a bad ankle injury in the second match against Brazil. The Real Colorado product is age-eligible for the next two U-20 Women’s World Cup tournaments.
U-20 WNT Goalkeeper, Katelyn Rowland - Bio
The starting goalkeeper at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada, Rowland allowed just three goals over the four matches, one from the penalty spot, and established herself as one of the top young goalkeepers in the world. She did not allow a goal as the USA rampaged to the title at the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands and finished the year with an 8-1-1 international record and a 0.37 GAA. In her senior season at UCLA, she broke the NCAA record for career shutouts, earning her 53rd in UCLA’s NCAA first-round victory. Rowland also broke her own school records for single-season shutouts (16), consecutive shutouts in a season (7) and consecutive shutout minutes in a season (667). She played all 1,840 minutes and led the Bruins to the best team goals against average (0.196), shutout percentage (0.800) and save percentage (0.913) marks in the nation. She finished the regular season with just four goals allowed and was named the Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Year.