Armas, Milbrett Earn Top Chevrolet Athlete of the Year Honors; Donovan, Wagner Take Young Player Awards
CHICAGO (Tuesday, February 27, 2001) - The U.S. Soccer Federation announced its 2000 Chevrolet Athlete of the Year awards at a press conference today in Columbus, Ohio, where the U.S. Men's National Team will compete against Mexico in an extremely important World Cup qualifier tomorrow night at Crew Stadium in a match televised live on ESPN2 and Telemundo at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
The top two annual awards went to U.S. Men's National team midfielder Chris Armas, who was named Chevrolet Male Athlete of the Year, and U.S. Women's National Team forward Tiffeny Milbrett, who was named Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year.
As U.S. Soccer has done since 1998, it also announced Young Male Athlete of the Year and Young Female Athlete of the Year awards, which went to U.S. Men's National and Olympic Team forward Landon Donovan and U.S. Women's National Team and Under-21 veteran midfielder Aly Wagner.
"We're proud to once again be involved with the Athlete of the Year awards and honor these four truly outstanding players," said Steve Wagg, Chevy Cavalier brand manager. "This year, Chris and Tiffeny will both receive a Chevrolet Cavalier and we will donate $1,000 to the U.S. Soccer Foundation in the name of Landon and Aly. Chevrolet has a long history of being there, supporting aspiring athletes and our support of U.S. Soccer is one more example of this."
Armas, arguably the most consistent and reliable player on the U.S. Men's National Team, started the most games (14) and played the most minutes (1,200) of any of the 45 players that appeared for the U.S. in 2000, despite missing two months with a torn medial cruciate ligament. The diminutive defensive midfielder was an integral part of the U.S. setting a team record with nine overall and five consecutive shutouts in 2000.
Milbrett had another tremendous year for the U.S. Women's National Team, finishing tied for second in scoring with 15 goals and nine assists for 39 points. But her value was best seen in the 2000 Olympics, where she played all 462 minutes in helping the U.S. women to a silver medal. The 5'2" striker was the team's leading scorer in Australia with three goals, including an incredible and improbable 90th minute header that forced the Gold Medal match to overtime.
Another player who turned heads in Sydney was former Under-17 superstar Landon Donovan, who scored an opening round goal that helped the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team win their group and go on to a best-ever fourth place finish. The 18-year-old phenom also broke into the Men's National Team in 2000, becoming only the sixth U.S. men's player in since 1986 to score in his debut when he notched a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win over Mexico in a friendly on Oct. 25.
Wagner, the midfield maestro for the U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team, also saw time with the full U.S. Women's National Team, where she had four goals and two assists in 10 matches. In her key role with the U-21's, the 20-year-old Santa Clara University star helped the team win the 2000 Nordic Cup despite playing the entire tournament with a hamstring injury.
This year's voting process was highlighted by a first ever opportunity for fans to be involved, which they did in great numbers by logging on to www.us-soccer.com and voting for one or all of the four annual awards. Thousands of online votes were tallied and were equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes. As in years past, 100 votes were compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives, including National Team coaches and the U.S.S.F. National Board of Directors.
U.S. Soccer's Chevrolet Male and Female Athletes of the Year awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their type. The annual award, which has existed since 1984 for the men and 1985 for the women, is based on competing and excelling at the highest level of soccer offered by U.S. Soccer for the calendar year, as well as exhibiting decorum on and off the field that contributes to the growing popularity and credibility of the sport in the United States. The Chevrolet awards are the only year-end soccer awards which honor both male and female athletes.
Chevrolet, the largest division of General Motors Corporation, has been a proud sponsor of U.S. Soccer, the U.S. Youth Soccer Association and state soccer associations since 1997. Chevrolet recently extended its relationship with U.S. Soccer through 2004.
|1984||Rick Davis||not awarded|
|1985||Perry Van der Beck||Sharon Remer|
|1986||Paul Caligiuri||April Heinrichs|
|1987||Brent Goulet||Carin Jennings|
|1988||Peter Vermes||Joy Biefeld|
|1989||Mike Windischmann||April Heinrichs|
|1990||Tab Ramos||Michelle Akers-Stahl|
|1991||Hugo Perez||Michelle Akers-Stahl|
|1992||Marcelo Balboa||Carin Gabarra (Carin Jennings)|
|1993||Thomas Dooley||Kristine Lilly|
|1994||Marcelo Balboa||Mia Hamm|
|1995||Alexi Lalas||Mia Hamm|
|1996||Eric Wynalda||Mia Hamm|
|1997||Kasey Keller||Mia Hamm|
|1998||Cobi Jones||Mia Hamm|
|1999||Kasey Keller||Michelle Akers|
|2000||Chris Armas||Tiffeny Milbrett|
|1998||Josh Wolff||Cindy Parlow|
|1999||Ben Olsen||Lorrie Fair|
|2000||Landon Donovan||Aly Wagner|
Chris Armas--Midfielder--MNT / Chicago Fire (MLS)
Seen as one of the most consistent and reliable players on the U.S. Men's National Team in just his second full year with the team, Armas remains the first choice at defensive midfielder ... Started the most games (14) and played the most minutes (1,200) of any of the 45 players that appeared for the USA in 2000, despite missing two months with a torn medial cruciate ligament ... Was an integral part of the U.S. setting a team record with nine overall and five consecutive shutouts in 2000 ... Finished 2000 with a surprising two goals on the year, scoring the equalizers and helping the U.S. earn draws against against Iran and Colombia ... Was originally one of three "over-age" selections for the U.S. Men's Olympic Team prior to the injury ... Despite missing half the season, he had five assists and helped the Chicago Fire to an appearance in MLS Cup 2000 and a victory in the 2000 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in October ... Named a 2000 MLS All-Star and to the 2000 MLS Best XI for the third consecutive year.
Tiffeny Milbrett--Forward--WNT / New York Power (WUSA)
Finished tied for second on the team in scoring with 15 goals and nine assists for a total of 39 points ... Finished third on the team in minutes played (2,620) and games played (35) in 2000 ... Played all 462 minutes of the Olympics, helping the U.S. win the silver medal ... Was the team's leading goal scorer (3) and biggest impact player in the tournament ... She hit the woodwork three times in the opening game against Norway as well as scoring the game-winning goal in the Olympic-opening 2-0 win on Sept. 14 ... Scored both goals in a heart-breaking 3-2 loss to Norway in the gold medal match, including an dramatic header to push the game into overtime with less than 15 seconds to play in stoppage time ... Currently averages an impressive goal in every two games with a total of 81 goals in 164 games ... Had the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Brazil in the championship game of the first ever CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup on June 27 ... Also scored the game-wining goals against Norway at the DFB Tournament in Germany ... Had a hat trick in a 9-1 win over Canada in the Pacific Cup on June 2 ... Was allocated as one of three marquee players to the New York Power of WUSA.
Landon Donovan--Forward--MNT, Under-23 MNT / Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Entered 2000 coming off an outstanding two years as the biggest talent on a U.S. Under-17 National Team full of talent that finished fourth in the FIFA Youth World Championship in November '99 ... Became the first U.S. male to receive the Gold Ball as the Most Outstanding Player of an international tournament for his performance at New Zealand '99 ... Finished his U-17 career with 35 goals in 41 appearances ... Proved he could score at the Under-23 and full Men's National Team level as well, finishing the year with four goals in eight games for the 23's and scoring the game winner in his full National Team debut as part of a 2-0 win over Mexico in his home state of California in October ... Currently fighting for a spot on the first team of German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, after becoming one of the youngest U.S. players to sign an overseas contract when he did so at age 16.
Aly Wagner--Midfielder--WNT, Under-21 WNT / Santa Clara University (NCAA)
The midfield maestro for the U.S. Under-21s, she also saw quality time with the full national team this year ... She had four goals and two assists in 10 matches with the full Women's National Team, scoring on a brilliant strike from distance in the championship game of the Australia Cup last January, clinching the 3-1 win over the hosts and the title ... She also scored against Iceland, Japan and Italy ... A workhorse in the central midfield with Aleisha Cramer for the U-21 Nordic Cup Team, she played the entire tournament despite a nagging hamstring injury that would impact her college season, allowing her to play in just 16 games ... Scored both U.S. goals against Sweden in a 2-2 tie at the Nordic Cup and also scored against Switzerland.