CHICAGO (Dec. 17, 2008) – The final four winners of the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards were announced on Wednesday on ussoccer.com, with Studio 90 presenting the fan’s choices for Best Performance: Team, Best Goal: Men, Best Goal: Women and Best Photo.
Fans can watch a special presentation of all 12 winners on ussoccer.com’s Studio 90, which has already showcased the first eight award winners, including Best Assist, Best all_access Video, Best Fan Photo, Best Soccer Specialty Store, Best Performance: Player, Best Soccer Bar and Best Soccer Blog.
On Thursday, Dec. 18, U.S. Soccer will announce the winners for the 2008 Athlete of the Year Awards, which include Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female Athletes of the Year. As the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, U.S. Soccer’s Athlete of the Year Awards date back to 1984 for the men and 1985 for the women. As in years past, online votes for the annual award were tallied and counted for to 50 percent of the total, while the other 50 percent was compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives, including National Team coaches and members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors.
All four of the final “Best Of” Awards have China as their common thread, and the Beijing Olympics provided some of the most memorable moments of the year for the men's and women's national teams.
The award for Best Performance: Team was never going to be a contest, with the U.S. Women's National Team taking the prize for their gold medal winning effort against Brazil. The 1-0 victory in the championship match earned 52 percent of the vote, far outpacing the MNT's performances against Argentina and Poland, which finished second (21 percent) and third (8 percent) respectively.
Best Goal: Women came from the same game, with Carli Lloyd's gold medal winning strike earning the most votes from the fans. Lloyd's fizzer into the bottom corner earned 31 percent of the vote, while Lori Chalupny's shot into the top left corner against Japan earned 27 percent. In third place was Becky Edwards' rocket against Cuba during U-20 CONCACAF qualifying.
Best Photo went to “Jump for Joy,” which captured U.S. players Heather O'Reilly and Natasha Kai in mid celebration after the final whistle against Brazil. The photograph took in 31 percent of the vote, beating Triple Celebration (25 percent) and Cuba Cuatro (16 percent).
The Best Goal on the Men's side also came from China, with Sacha Kljestan's strike against the Netherlands getting 28 percent of the fan vote. Kljestan's well-taken shot finished ahead of two goals from the U.S. MNT's game against their biggest rival, Mexico. Oguchi Onyewu's powerful header and Jozy Altidore's first goal for the full national team both tied for second place with 20 percent of the vote.
Up next in the award season is the results for 2008 Athlete of the Year. The awards for Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female Athletes of the Year will be announced on ussoccer.com on Thursday, Dec. 18.
2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Results – Performance: Team, Goal: Men, Goal: Women, Photo
Best Performance: Team
1. U.S. WNT vs. Brazil – Aug. 21 52 %
2. U.S. MNT vs. Argentina – June 8 21 %
3. U.S. MNT vs. Poland – March 26 8 %
Best Goal: Women
1. Carli Lloyd vs. Brazil – Aug. 21 31 %
2. Lori Chalupny vs. Japan – Aug. 18 20 %
3. Becky Edwards vs. Cuba – June 20 14 %
Best Goal: Men
1. Sacha Kljestan vs. Netherlands – Aug. 10 28 %
2. Oguchi Onyewu vs. Mexico – Feb. 6 20 %
3. Jozy Altidore vs. Mexico – Feb. 6 20 %
1. Jump for Joy 31 %
2. Triple Celebration 25 %
3. Cuba Cuatro 16 %