CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2008) – U.S. Soccer has announced the first four winners of the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards following nearly three weeks of fan voting online at ussoccer.com. Fans can view a special episode of Studio 90 on ussoccer.com, where the winners for Best Soccer Specialty Store, Best Soccer Bar, Best Soccer Blog and Best Fan Photo are revealed. Studio 90 will be back throughout the week, as eight more winners are set to be unveiled.
The seventh annual installment of the popular “Best of” series was presented by Soccer America, the No. 1 soccer magazine in the United States, and fans had a chance to cast their ballot for all 12 categories from Nov. 18 to Dec. 8 on ussoccer.com.
Following the unveiling of the 2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards, U.S. Soccer will announce the winners for the 2008 Athelete of the Year Awards on Thursday, Dec. 18 , 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.
The past six years have featured a new Best Soccer Specialty Store winner in each edition of the “Best of” Awards, but this year there is finally a repeat winner. Angelo's Soccer Corner of Pennsylvania repeated its 2006 triumph this time around, garnering 24 percent of the vote to improve on its second place finish from last year. Angelo's surpassed competition from Soccer Post (17%) and Chicago Soccer (12%) to become the first two-time winner in the history of the category.
Last year's winner The Globe Pub retained its title of Best Soccer Bar in what was a landslide vote for the Chicago establishment. The victory marked the sixth straight year a Windy City watering hole has risen above the competition, and The Globe completed its back-to-back triumph in some style: their 43 percent lead over Nevada Smith's of New York represented the largest margain of victory in any category.
Best Soccer Blog is one of the newest categories in the “Best of” lineup, having been awarded for the first time in 2007. Soccer by Ives came in second in 2007, but the popular blog written by Ives Galarcep of New Jersey leapfrogged Soccer Insider to claim the award this time around. SBI took in 28 percent of the vote, beating out Soccer Insider (22%) and the WNT Blog (14%).
Jeff York of Sothbury, Conn. took the award for Best Fan Photo, his memorable photograph from RFK Stadium handily beating out the competition from Peter Muir and Adelaide Arriaga. York's photo, taken during the Men's National Team's game against Cuba, earned 40 percent of the vote.
On Tuesday, Dec. 16, the next four awards will be presented for Best Goal: Development Academy, Best Assist, Best all_access Video, and Best Performance: Player. The remainder of the “Best of” awards will be handed out on Wednesday, Dec. 17 and on Thursday, the 2008 Athlete of the Year awards will be announced.
2008 Best of U.S. Soccer Results – Soccer Specialty Store, Soccer Bar, Soccer Blog, Fan Photo
Best Soccer Specialty Store
1. Angelo's Soccer Corner (Penn.) 24%
2. Soccer Post (N.J.) 17%
3. Chicago Soccer 12%
Best Soccer Bar
1. The Globe Pub (Chicago) 52%
2. Nevada Smiths (New York) 9%
3. Summers Restaurant (Arlington, Va.) 6%
Best Soccer Blog
1. Soccer By Ives 28%
2. Soccer Insider 22%
3. WNT Blog 14%
Best Fan Photo
1. Jeff York 40%
2. Peter Muir 15%
3. Adelaide Arriaga 15%