CHICAGO (Dec. 23, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach was named the 2014 CONCACAF Female Player of the Year. Wambach, who was the runner-up to Alex Morgan for the award in 2013, edged out Costa Rica’s Shirley Cruz for the top honor.
Wambach, a member of the National Women's Soccer League's WNY Flash, scored 14 goals and posted three assists in 20 games for the WNT. She is the team's all-time leading goal scorer with 177 in 232-career appearances.
U.S. Men’s National Team and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was the CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year for the second consecutive occasion, beating out Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa and Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas. Howard had a memorable 2014 FIFA World Cup highlighted by a 15-save performance against Belgium. Howard also was third in the CONCACAF Player of the Year voting.
USA referee Mark Geiger was named the 2014 CONCACAF Referee of the Year, finishing ahead of Mexico’s Marco Antonio Rodriguez and Costa Rica’s Walter Quesada. Geiger refereed three matches at the 2014 World Cup, including a Round of 16 match between France and Nigeria. He was the 2014 Major League Soccer Referee of the Year and manned the middle during the 2014 MLS Cup Final as the LA Galaxy won its fifth title.
2014 CONCACAF Awards
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Keylor Navas, Goalkeeper (Real Madrid/ESP & Costa Rica)
Second: Bryan Ruiz, Forward (Fulham FC/ENG & Costa Rica)
Third: Tim Howard, Goalkeeper (Everton/ENG & United States)
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Abby Wambach, Forward (Western New York Flash/USA & United States)
Second: Shirley Cruz, Midfielder (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA & Costa Rica)
Third: Veronica Charlyn Corral (Merilappi United/FIN & Mexico)
GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Tim Howard (Everton/ENG & United States)
Second: Guillermo Ochoa (Malaga/ESP & Mexico)
Third: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid/ESP & Costa Rica)
COACH OF THE YEAR
Winner: Jorge Luis Pinto (Costa Rica)
Second: Luis Fernando Suarez (Honduras)
Third: Oscar Ramirez (LD Alajuelense/CRC)
REFEREE OF THE YEAR
Winner: Mark Geiger (USA)
Second: Marco Antonio Rodriguez (Mexico)
Third: Walter Quesada (Costa Rica)
GOAL OF THE YEAR
Winner: Bryan Ruiz, Costa Rica v Italy, 44th minute (June 20, 2014)
Second: Esteban Ramirez, Herediano v Saprissa, 20th minute Nov. 2, 2014)
Third: Joel Campbell, Costa Rica v Uruguay, 54th minute (June 14, 2014)
I will never forget our bus ride to the Loftus Versfeld, the Pretoria stadium where we’d play our win-or-go-home match against Algeria. All along the route, American fans stood on the road, waving and cheering. By the time Loftus came into view, the bus had to roll to a stop. A sea of supporters stretched out in all directions. Some wrapped themselves in American flags, others had painted stars and stripes on their faces, and everyone rocked the national colors—red, white, and blue. They held up scarves like one might see at a Premier League match except these said LAND OF THE FREE. They held up signs proclaiming ONE NATION. ONE TEAM, and DIVERSE. HUNGRY. UNITED. AMERICA. Fans were rapping on the windows screaming “USA!” They also held up our bus—not that anyone minded. We were so far from home, and yet all these fans made us feel like were home. “Holy crap,” said Carlos. “This is awesome.”
The game was scoreless for 90 minutes. A draw wouldn’t be good enough for us; to advance we had to win. At a certain point, tactics went out the window. Defensive principles? Gone. The notion that a soccer game might be a chess match? Forget about it. With the clock ticking down and the prospect of our World Cup ending, there was no time for rhyme or reason. If we had a strategy, it was this: throw everything we have at them and hope they break.
We attacked with three strikers and a midfield that marauded forward with only one thing on its mind: putting the ball in the back of their net. Algeria massed as many as nine players in front of their goal. Still we had chance after chance. We hit the post. We had a goal called back for offsides. We did everything but score. I watched on full alert, thinking, All we need is one play, one moment of inspiration where we catch them on their heels. And then, a minute into stoppage time, it arrived.
Algeria’s Rafik Saïfi had a clear header at goal but it was weak and straight at me. The ball bounced and I caught it. I had to move fast. There was no time to survey the field and pick out a safe outlet. There wasn’t time to even look up. I had to operate on instinct. My instincts were formed on the fields of New Jersey with my goalkeeping coach Tim “Mulch” Mulqueen hammering certain lessons into my brain. When the ball comes in from the left, look to the right. A split second after catching that ball, I knew—I just knew—that Landon would be tearing down the right flank. And because the game had been stretched wide open in those final frantic minutes, all those players abandoning their positions in their desperation to score, I also knew there’d be acres of green grass in front of him. So I hurled that ball as far as I could to where Landon would be by the time it landed. It came to rest at his feet, like Mulch always insisted it would.
Landon set off toward the Algeria goal, 10 yards, 20 yards, 30 yards, chewing up the space as he searched for an open teammate. He pushed the ball ahead to Jozy, who picked out Clint across the box. I thought Clint would finish it but at the exact moment that he reached Jozy’s pass, the Algerian goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi threw himself bravely at Dempsey’s feet. The ball ricocheted off their keeper and away from goal. For a moment, it looked to most of the world like we were going home.
But my eyes were on Landon. He was still running, accelerating as he moved closer to the ball. I’m not even sure the Algerian defenders knew he was there. That’s the thing about Landon. He doesn’t broadcast his presence like some of the flashier players. He glides in, cool-as-you-like, and no matter how high the stakes, no matter how pressurized the situation is, he does what Landon always does—executes the finish with flawless precision.
There were 92 minutes on the clock. The ball had traveled from goal line to goal line in a few historic seconds before Landon buried it in the back of their net.
Landon raced toward the corner flag. He stretched out his arms and dove, bodysurfing along the grass. Benny Feilhaber slid behind him. Then everyone got in on it. All the guys on the field. All the guys on the bench. The coaches. The staff. Everyone. They ran toward Landon and threw themselves on top of him, one after another. Jozy flew onto the pileup like he was Superman. Jay DeMerit finished it off with a rolling somersault over the whole delirious gang. I watched the jubilation from the far end of the field. I kneeled down and touched the grass, five precise touches. I stood. I kissed my goalkeeper’s gloves, and raised my arms toward the sky.
“Thank you,” I said, looking up. “Thank you.”
After finishing off the 2014 slate with a pair of friendlies against Colombia and Ireland in the United Kingdom, U.S. Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with ussoccer.com to discuss the state of the team as it sets sail on the new 2018 World Cup cycle.
ussoccer.com: Having thoroughly reviewed both games, what are the key points you take away? To what extent are the results important?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “Results are always important because results over time bring you confidence and give you more respect towards opponents and other countries watching you. But, on the other hand, playing these games in another environment, especially far away from the United States is always a learning curve. It's an experiment where you can bring in players who never really experienced this type of atmosphere or circumstances. Therefore it was two very important games where I hope the players took a lot with them at the end of the day.”
“Obviously for us coaches we saw a lot of things we want to see and also a lot of things we don’t want to see, especially in the 4-1 loss to Ireland. There were too many individual mistakes, especially on the second and third goal, that you can’t afford on the international level.”
“I still think it was definitely worth it. We were excited about a couple of players coming in being fresh. Bill Hamid made his start there against Ireland and experienced really the international level. Jordan Morris played his first cap, Rubio Rubin came in and we see some talent coming through. Will it take time for them? Absolutely, but you got to start that process and it’s better earlier than too late. So we start the process already and we're excited for them.”
ussoccer.com: One of the key goals of this last camp was establish a mentoring environment between the veterans and the youngsters. Were you pleased with how that went, and what are the next steps there?
JK: “It was the overall theme that we wanted to use the last couple of games: to build relationships between the older players and some of the younger players to be their mentors, to be their guides in a certain way, to help from their experience. We wanted guys like Brad Guzan, Kyle Beckerman, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones and others to make the younger players understand what it takes to drive towards hopefully one day a World Cup because they already have a couple World Cups under their belts. This mentorship that we've started now will continue in the future because we want the younger players to grow and we want them to very fast understand that it takes a lot of inner drive and self-motivation and professionalism to get to that level where the established older guys have played already. So this theme will go with us into the future and it will be interesting to see how it develops.”
ussoccer.com: You said the goalkeeper position is an open competition. You've had a variety of them in camp and were able to spread around minutes. How would you assess that situation?
JK: “I think the goalkeeper situation is going well. Obviously Tim Howard is taking a year off, so Brad Guzan jumps in as the natural fit right away. He proves that he is ready to be the No. 1. Nick Rimando is knocking at the door and he would like to have that spot too. For us it's also important that we bring along Billy Hamid and Sean Johnson who were our Olympic team goalkeepers of the last cycle. So we have to bring them into those environments, train them on the highest level, but also here and there give them a game. That's why Bill Hamid started that game against Ireland and did well; I had no issues at all [with his performance]. Right now, it's not about defining No. 1, 2, and 3 and setting it in stone because we're in a transition year going into next summer's Gold Cup. Prior to the Gold Cup we will make it clear, so this year gives us the opportunity to have a closer look at all of them.”
ussoccer.com: Part of the goal of these friendlies is to get players experience. In what ways does making extensive substitutions impact a match?
JK: “Playing friendly games and having the substitution rule where you can bring in six players obviously changes the dynamic of games, especially towards the end of games. When you bring in subs in order to give them a chance, in order to give them experience, you sort of risk the result. Either way - it could go the good way or it could go the bad way. When you come in as a sub and you're down a goal, it's far more difficult to give an impact than if you're up a goal when everything is positive and you might hit another goal from your end. So it's not always easy for the subs to make an impression, but if we don't do it, we miss out on too big an opportunity for these players to gain experience. So, we compromised the substitutions in a friendly game for some results. Do we want the results at the same time? Absolutely, but here and there you’ve got do it for the big picture.”
ussoccer.com: Two of the surprise call-ups during the post-World Cup friendlies were Miguel Ibarra and Jordan Morris. How did they fare, and are you open to bringing in other players in similar circumstances as them?
JK: “We believe Miguel Ibarra coming from the NASL and Jordan Morris coming from college that there are players in those areas that have tremendous talent. So we are looking at their talent and where it could be in two to four years from now if you give them time to grow and nurture them. Basically it's gone extremely well so far, so we are looking for players all over the place - if they come through the European channels, maybe through the youth system there, through Mexico or the NASL or the college route or the MLS ranks.
“The players themselves need to prove that they have this inner drive and they have an understanding of what it takes to grow into an established player on the international level. Our job is to identify their talent and then build it. Hopefully they make the right choices then down the road in terms of their own career and their own club environment, but it’s encouraging to see these two young players leading the way for hopefully many other players in the future to break through.”
ussoccer.com: Morris made his debut when he came on against Ireland. How did you rate his performance?
JK: “For us coaches it’s really important for us to see the talent growing one step at a time. With Jordan Morris you have a player that comes from the college system; he comes from Stanford. He has a specific rhythm there in the college environment, so we kind of had a closer look at him with the Olympic team first, then I brought him to the Czech Republic. We saw him grow now over the last half year to a year and he did better and better because he gets more and more confident and believes in himself. So when the moment came actually to add him in to the Ireland game, it was a tricky moment because we were down. But he settled in and he had good moments. He was good in one-on-one situations. If he's a bit lucky he gives an assist to Greg Garza to score a goal. So we were very happy and we continue to build him and bring him in like with the other younger players.”
ussoccer.com: How would you assess the Jermaine Jones transition to centerback? Is something you plan on continuing?
JK: “Jermaine Jones growing into this role as a right center back is encouraging for us to see that we have another option, another card if we need him to play. Is he more of a midfielder? Yes, that's where he played his whole life. Does he see himself as a midfielder? Probably, but we see that at his age he has tremendous experience and leadership to guide a back line, especially with young players coming through like John Anthony Brooks. They are the ones who need that leadership from him on the back line. It's good to have this drive from Jermaine. Going forward this will be important for us. It could be that he has to settle with this role; we'll see. We'll see with the development of all the other players in that role as well, but we're looking good in terms of center backs.”
ussoccer.com: Tim Howard was voted the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. What can you say about his performance in 2014?
JK: “When you talk about Timmy, you talk about the Belgium game where I don’t know how many shots he saved, but he really was our backbone to stay in the game and to go all the way into extra time and almost actually beat Belgium. That was a remarkable performance from him that I think everybody would talk about right away. He's a tremendous personality, a very calm, quiet leader. Obviously he has all the experience that you need in his position but also in his career. He's played pretty much his entire career in Europe on a very high level, so he's a role model for many, many young players coming through the ranks and not only goal keepers, also field players. It's just great to have him.”
ussoccer.com: You will be attending the Nike Friendlies and the Development Academy Showcase at the end of the month. What is on the agenda there?
JK: “For us coaches it's important to see what the talent is doing on a younger level so going to the Nike Friendlies, seeing our U-17s competing with teams like Brazil, Australia and England is quite exciting. I was there last year and it was neat to see. It's also important for us to connect with the Academy program, with the coaches from the Academy clubs, with a lot of people who are down there and seeing things first hand. That's why I called in my coaching staff, assistant coaches and other people to have a closer look at the young players. It's important to always be up to speed with the development on the youth side.”
ussoccer.com: Many of the players are now heading into their offseason. What will your message be to them on how to bridge the gap between now and the start of their next season?
JK: “For us it's a tricky situation. MLS players are pretty much done, NASL players are done, the college season gets to an end, Mexico plays its own agenda and the Europeans now are going full steam basically until the end of May. We're monitoring all of them, their club teams, we're keeping in touch with their coaches and with themselves as well. It's a lot of scouting. It's a lot of communication, a lot of tracking down the right people to get the right information. What we hope from them is absolutely to establish their starter position stronger and stronger. This is the biggest challenge for them. This is what quite a lot of them lost after the World Cup. For us this is a bad situation to develop a National Team program with players not starting in their club situations. Hopefully they get that done over the next couple weeks and we can look at it a little bit calmer.”
ussoccer.com: You have considered different approaches to the January camp, including not having one at all. Why is this camp important and what will be the focus in terms of roster and schedule?
JK: “With the tricky situation that we have in the United States that now we have the season for the MLS players going towards the end and a lot of them having a break of almost two or three months, we are forced to hold a January camp to try and get the players in early in order to build their foundation for the season. It probably will go with the theme we had the last couple of months, bringing experienced players, bringing a lot of younger players in and kind of meld them together and have that mentorship for the developmental aspect of it.
“We want to explain a lot more what it takes to get to the international level - that you have to be on top of your game on the field, but you also have to be on top of your life off the field. With that schedule that we carry in the United States that we only get a nine, nine-and-a-half month season, we can't compete with the nations that go 11 months through. We're missing two months basically, so we try to bridge that with camps. We keep working, we keep explaining, we keep educating, which is very important on the field and off the field. It's going to be an exciting January camp like all the other ones in the past.”
ussoccer.com: Next year has been described as one of the most challenging schedules the National Team has ever put together in terms of the opponents as well as the competitions which would suggest a significant growth opportunity. How important is it to have the full team available?
JK: “Looking forward to 2015, obviously there's an exciting Gold Cup on the agenda in July, which we want to badly win because it takes us to the Confederations Cup 2017 in Russia. Certainly there are challenges with the FIFA fixture dates. The calendar is not in sync with MLS, so hopefully we're getting closer with MLS to solve that situation so that we can always call the strongest team possible for senior National Team games, which is very important to us because we want to do well and we want to get the results. We can't always compromise our players on this side or the other side, so having that calendar together would help us tremendously.
“2015 will be a year of developing talent on and off the field. The theme will be education. Education wherever we can. We want to educate more on the coaching side, we want to educate on the players side, we want to educate on the parents side about what it really takes to become a professional. What's exciting for us is we're building our own counseling office with Nelson Rodriguez leading it. This is a huge step. It's something we copied a bit from the universities where we try to establish contact with the players and their parents early in order to help them understand what you need to know to become a pro. So there will be a lot of educational topics out there. We want to improve coaching education wherever we can because it's crucial, and we want to challenge our players and not let them settle, not even for a second, for whatever they have achieved up to that point. We want to grow our program and one day compete with the best in the world, so it means a lot of hard work in 2015.”
CHICAGO (20 de noviembre, 2014) – El arquero Tim Howard ha sido elegido El Deportista del Año 2014 de U.S. Soccer. El resultado de la votación fue revelado en vivo en el programa de SportsCenter de ESPN esta tarde a las 4 p.m. ET. El honor es el segundo para Howard quien previamente lo recibió en el 2008.
El tres veces mundialista se convierte en el quinto jugador en ser nombrado El Deportista del Año más de una vez. Los otros incluyen al defensa Marcelo Balboa (1992, 1994), el arquero Kasey Keller (1997, 1999 y 2005), y los delanteros Landon Donovan (2003, 2004, 2009 y 2010) y Clint Dempsey (2007, 2011 y 2012).
"Es un honor. Yo conozco a los jugadores que han ganado anteriormente y que se encuentran en esta lista, así que es muy especial que mi nombre este ahí con el de ellos," Howard dijo en vivo en SportsCenter. "Ese mes y medio que nuestro equipo estuvo junto para los entrenamientos y luego cuando fuimos a Brasil la pasamos muy bien. Esa experiencia fue la que hizo que el 2014 fuera tan especial para mí."
Comenzado este año, un nuevo proceso de votación se llevó acabo. Los votos tabulados vinieron de los entrenadores, directores técnicos y personal de la selección nacional y las selecciones juveniles; de los jugadores de la selección nacional que representaron a EE.UU en algún partido este año; de los entrenadores de la Major League Soccer y la North American Soccer League; de miembros de los medios de comunicación y de ex jugadores y administradores.
Howard recibió el 64 por ciento de los votos, seguido por Jermaine Jones (19 por ciento) y Kyle Beckerman (11 por ciento).
Este año Howard se convirtió en el jugador estadounidense con más victorias con 55 (sobrepasando el record de Keller de 53) y con más participaciones con la selección con 104 (nuevamente sobrepasando a Keller quien tuvo 102). Asimismo, Howard tuvo un partido inolvidable durante la derrota de 2-1 de EE.UU ante Bélgica en el Mundial de la FIFA 2014 el 1 de julio en el cual el arquero estableció un nuevo récord en copas mundiales con 15 atajadas en un partido.
El premio al Deportista del Año 2014 de U.S. Soccer ha sido otorgado desde 1984 cuando el mediocampista Rick Davis recibió el honor.
Igualmente, hoy se anunciaron los nominados para El Deportista Juvenil, La Deportista Juvenil y Deportista con Discapacidad de U.S. Soccer 2014, e incluyen a:
- Nominados a El Deportista Juvenil del Año: Mukwelle Akale, mediocampista; Emerson Hyndman, mediocampista; Christian Pulisic, mediocampista; Haji Wright, delantero; DeAndre Yedlin, defensa
- Nominados a La Deportista Juvenil del Año: Morgan Brian, mediocampista; Rose Lavelle, mediocampista; Samantha Mewis, mediocampista; Mallory Pugh, mediocampista; Katelyn Rowland, arquera
- Nominados al Deportista con Discapacidad del Año : Meghan Maiwald, Deaf Soccer; Natalie Russo, Power Soccer; Gavin Sibayan, Paralympic Soccer
Las nominadas para La Deportista del Año 2014 de U.S. Soccer serán anunciadas en los próximos días.
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.
An athletic and intelligent goalkeeper, Howard has cemented his place in the line of great U.S. goalkeepers. Since 2007, Howard has occupied the No. 1 position for the USA, and his leadership and big-game credentials have continued to flourish year after year. Howard is equally indispensable for Everton, where he has served as the undisputed starter for several years, making more than 200 appearances, and has led his team to places in European competition and the FA Cup final. Howard is a commanding veteran personality who is relied upon by his teammates for calmness and the ability to make key saves.
- Made 16 saves against Belgium on July 1 in the Round of 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a World Cup record
- Started all of the U.S. MNT's 2014 FIFA World Cup games
- Howard has the most wins (55) and appearances (104) among U.S. goalkeepers, and also sits in second place in shutouts (35)
- Became the 15th player in U.S. history to get 100 caps when he started against Nigeria on June 7
- Moved ahead of Tony Meola with his 33rd-career shutout in a 2-0 victory against Jamaica on Oct. 11, 2013, that helped the U.S. MNT win its third straight Hexagonal
- Tied for first in team appearance with 15 in 2011 – a career high
- Holds second place on the all-time list for victories amongst U.S. goalkeepers
- His stellar effort in the 1-1 draw against England in the USA’s opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup earned him the Best Performance: Player award for the 2010 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards
- One of five U.S. players to play every minute of the World Cup in South Africa
- His shutout against then No. 1-ranked Spain in the semifinal of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup helped him earn the Golden Glove award as the tournament’s best goalkeeper
- Finished the 2010 World Cup qualifying cycle with 13 appearances, earning six clean sheets and registering a 0.92 GAA as the team topped the final round standings while booking a place in South Africa
- Named the English Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year in 2004 while playing for Manchester United
Date of Birth
Mar 6, 1979
North Brunswick, N.J.