Monday - Individual Performance of the Year
Today, Dec. 19, marks the first day of our 2016 U.S. Soccer Best of Awards voting right here on ussoccer.com. After tallying today's votes, U.S. WNT's Crystal Dunn wins Best Individual Performance for her five-goal effort vs. Puerto Rico on Feb. 15.
WNT: Crystal Dunn vs. Puerto Rico – Feb. 15, 2016 - WINNER
The third group game of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship marked the first meeting between the WNT and Puerto Rico in the history of the two teams. The USA scored 10 goals to finish atop Group A with the full nine points. Despite the dominant team performance, it was Crystal Dunn who had a record-book night. Dunn scored five goals in the match - a brace in the first half and three in the second - to lead the way. Her performance against Puerto Rico not only tied a U.S. WNT record for most goals scored in a single game, but it was also her first multi-goal game for the USA on a night when she went from five to 10 career goals. Dunn became the seventh player to score five goals in a match in the 31 years of the WNT program, joining Brandi Chastain, Michelle Akers, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Amy Rodriguez and Sydney Leroux. She was also awarded the Golden Boot at the end of the tournament as the top scorer.
MNT: John Brooks vs. Paraguay – June 11, 2016
With both teams needing to win in order to ensure advancement to the Copa America Quarterfinals, MNT center back John Brooks turned in an epic performance in the USA’s 1-0 victory against Paraguay in Philadelphia. Having already put on a strong performance in the MNT’s 4-0 win against Costa Rica days earlier, Brooks was on the mark against Paraguay and memorably kept things level after stifling Miguel Almiron’s effort that came off of a three-on-one attack in the 11th minute. When DeAndre Yedlin was sent off early in the second half, it was Brooks who provided calm on the back line, helping the 10-man U.S. side keep the shutout and finish atop Group A.
MNT: Sacha Kljestan vs. Trinidad & Tobago – Sept. 6, 2016
After more than two years away from the U.S. Men’s National Team, Sacha Kljestan returned in full force during September’s World Cup Qualifying matches. Days after tallying a goal and two assists off the bench in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Kljestan’s first start since March 5, 2014 saw the MNT veteran score the opening goal as well as help set up the second and fourth in an emphatic 4-0 victory against Trinidad & Tobago which confirmed the USA’s place in the Final Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.
PNT: David Garza vs. Netherlands – Sept. 8, 2016
The U.S. Paralympic National Team opened the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro against a highly ranked Dutch side, which featured players among the Netherlands professional ranks. Following an early U.S. goal, the Dutch were aggressive in attack, attempting a whopping 32 shots on goal. Fortunately for PNT goalkeeper Sean Boyle, defender David Garza put forth a tremendous performance, blocking shot after shot to allow less than half on frame. As if his defensive performance wasn’t enough, Garza suffered a broken foot when he was the recipient of a studs-up tackle in the 24th minute. Garza went on to play the full 60 minutes to help the U.S. to a historic 2-2 draw, but was forced out of action for the rest of the competition.
WNT: Carli Lloyd vs. Thailand – Sept. 15, 2016
In the first match back for the WNT since the Olympic Games and on the occasion of Heather O’Reilly’s retirement from international soccer, it was Carli Lloyd who etched her name in history in a friendly against Thailand. On an emotional night, Lloyd remained focused and helped send her teammate into retirement in style. Lloyd was involved in seven of the USA’s nine goals - including exchanging assists with O’Reilly - and became the first U.S. WNT player in history to record three goals (her seventh international hat trick) and four assists in one game.
U-17 WNT: Civana Kuhlmann vs. Paraguay – Oct. 1, 2016
In its opening match of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan, forward Civana Kuhlmann led the USA by scoring the first hat trick by a U.S. player in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, including a big goal just four minutes into the second half. The scores were Kuhlmann’s 13th, 14th, and 15th international goals. She finished the cycle with 20 career caps with the U-17s.
U-17 MNT: Josh Sargent vs. Portugal – Nov. 30, 2016
U-17 MNT captain Josh Sargent capped a banner year at the 2016 Nike International Friendlies. Leading the team to its first tournament title since 2013, Sargent set the tone for the U.S. in the competition with a hat trick performance in a 7-1 win vs. Portugal. Each goal showed off a different strong suit of Sargent’s game. In the 19th minute, Sargent displayed finishing prowess, while his 55th minute goal demonstrated his strength in being able to muscle off his man up top. Sargent put an exclamation point on the night in the 82nd minute when he cleverly reacted to a deflected ball by sending a back heel past Portuguese goalkeeper Joao Monteiro.
CHICAGO (Dec. 5, 2016) – U.S. Soccer has announced the nominees for the 2016 U.S. Soccer Young Male, Young Female and Disabled Player of the Year awards.
Nominees for Young Male Player of the Year are Andrew Carleton, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Josh Sargent, Christian Pulisic and Jordan Morris.
Young Female Player of the Year nominees are midfielders Emily Ogle and Andi Sullivan, defenders Kaleigh Riehl and Karina Rodriguez and forward Ashley Sanchez. This is the second nomination for Sanchez.
The Disabled Player of the Year nominees are Adam Ballou (Paralympic Soccer National Team), Nico Calabria (U.S. Amputee Soccer National Team), Emily Cressy (U.S. Deaf Women’s National Team), Matt Eby (U.S. Deaf Men’s National Team)
The winner for the Young Male Player of the Year award will be announced on Friday, Dec. 9 on FS1, while the winner for the Young Female Player of the Year award will be revealed on Sunday, Dec. 11 on ESPN FC. The Disabled Player of the Year winner will be announced Monday, Dec. 12 on ussoccer.com.
- 2016 Player Bios: Young Male | Young Female | Disabled
- Past U.S. Soccer Player of the Year Winners
A new voting process was put into place in 2014. Votes are collected from respective National Team coaches, National Team players who have earned a cap in 2016, American soccer league (MLS, NASL and NWSL) head coaches, select media members, former players and administrators.
Players cannot win the Young Male or Young Female award more than once.
The award for Young Male and Young Female Player of the Year was first awarded in 1998 with Josh Wolff and Cindy Parlow, winning for Young Male and Young Female, respectively. The Disabled Player of the Year was first awarded in 2012 with Felicia Schroeder earning the honor.Read more
Josh Brunais, U.S. Army Veteran and Paralympic Soccer Player, Elected U.S. Flag Bearer for Closing Ceremony
The past few months have been a whirlwind for U.S. Paralympic National Team player Josh Brunais. From being selected to represent his country at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro to representing Team USA in meet-and-greet with President Barack Obama, Brunais has found a way to make the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The midfielder, who is usually a reserved person, was initially hesitant to share his story through U.S. Soccer’s “One Nation. One Team. 14 Stories.” series about the PNT.
“To be honest, at first I was really nervous,” Brunais told ussoccer.com. “I’m not a big fan of sharing my background. I always try to keep things low-key. But after talking to my coach (Stuart Sharp) and everybody else around me, just knowing that I would have the opportunity to inspire others meant a lot to me.”
As the Paralympics came to a close, the Army veteran found himself in a fortunate situation: he was selected by all of Team USA to serve as the flag bearer for the U.S. in the closing ceremony. To say he was incredibly honored and humbled would be an understatement, and although he credits teammate Seth Jahn for lobbying for him to get selected, he held the USA flag as tall and proud as he could to show the world that Team USA was in the building.
“I don’t know how he did it, but Seth Jahn was my representative and he must’ve been the best wordsmith ever because he made it happen,” Brunais said. “I was selected and I’ve now carried the flag in two capacities – one overseas while deployed and one representing all the U.S. Paralympic athletes. It meant the world to me.”
If meeting the President was never on Brunais’ radar, standing next to President Obama during a speech and thanking him on behalf of Team USA was beyond his greatest expectations. He was told about an hour prior to the visit to the White House that he and Olympic Gold Medal gymnast Simone Biles would serve as the representatives who would present a pair of signed surfboards to the President as a “thank you” from the entire Olympic delegation. Although his nerves almost got the best of him, he managed to put a quick thank-you speech together, earning a thumbs up from President Obama.
The highlight of this experience, however, was when Vice President Joe Biden grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him in as President Obama was speaking.
“He asked me if I had another four years left in me,” Brunais commented. “I immediately said ‘Of course, sir!’ I had to let him know that there’s no doubt I’ll stick around.”
Following a surreal day at the White House, Brunais embarked on another unexpected adventure, this time serving as an honorary captain for the Washington Spirit before a crucial playoff match.
The PNT midfielder has been a fan of the Spirit and the U.S. WNT’s Ali Krieger for quite some time. Although the pair had never met, they grew up in close proximity and attended rival high schools in Northern Virginia. So when his selection as flag bearer was announced, Krieger tweeted congratulations to him and invited him to a Spirit match. The two finally met a few days before the game at a Team USA banquet in the nation’s capital and coordinated plans for Friday’s big game. Match day rolled around and Brunais shook many hands, performed his honorary captain duties, and enjoyed watching Washington take home a “W” in the NWSL Semifinals.
While each these experiences have been life-changing for Brunais, he knows none of it would have been possible without his teammates. In Brunais’ mind, Jahn said it best in a passionate open letter to the PNT.
“Usually people will refer to teammates and fellow athletes as a second family, but to me they are equivalent to my first family. They’re right there on that level,” said Brunais. “Since my life has changed and things have gotten a little harder, being around them makes everything easier. They understand what I’m going through. This team has given me a new drive and focus in life after I got out of the military. They were all part of that; they’ve helped me when I’ve had good days and bad days. I can’t thank them enough.”
Looking back at the past few months, Brunais believes his biggest takeaway is how he’s been able to turn things around in soccer and in life thanks to the team.
“I was able to find myself and become an athlete again, something that had always been a part of my life,” Brunais stated. “I’m incredibly grateful.”
As for the future, he wants to continue improving individually, but even more so push the PNT higher and higher until they reach the number one spot in the world.Read more