CHICAGO (Tuesday, January 29, 2002) - The U.S. Soccer Federation announced its 2001 Chevy Athlete of the Year awards at a press conference today in Pasadena, Calif., where the U.S. Men's National Team is set to face Canada in a 2002 Gold Cup semifinal tomorrow night at the Rose Bowl in a match that will kick off at 8:30 p.m. (PT).
The top two annual awards went to U.S. Men's National team midfielder Earnie Stewart, 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 for the second consecutive year.
As it has done since 1998, U.S. Soccer and Chevy also announced Young Male Athlete of the Year and Young Female Athlete of the Year awards, which went to U.S. Men's National Team and Under-20 MNT midfielder DaMarcus Beasley and U.S. Women's National Team and Under-21 WNT veteran midfielder Aleisha Cramer.
"We're honored to once again be involved with the Athlete of the Year awards," said Brian Boyd, Chevrolet brand promotional manager. "As we did last year, we'll present one Chevy Cavalier to each Adult Athlete winner and donate $1,000 to the U.S. Soccer Foundation in the name of each Young Athlete winner. Chevrolet has a long history of being there, supporting aspiring athletes and our support of U.S. Soccer is one more example of this."
For the second consecutive year, Stewart had arguably the biggest impact of any European- based player on the U.S. team in 2001. After finishing second in scoring in 2000 with four goals and four assists, Stewart stepped up and scored five goals to lead the U.S. team in scoring in 2001 with 10 points. All five goals came during the successful, 10-game final round of World Cup qualifying. His stellar year and scoring touch for the U.S. MNT translated to his pro season, in which he had scored an impressive seven goals in 17 league matches for NAC Breda in the Dutch Honor Division at year's end.
Over the past few years, Milbrett has emerged as one of the best players in the world, as she consistently scored goals against all comers with both the U.S. Women's National Team and the New York Power in 2001. Not only did she led the USA in scoring in 2001 with three goals and one assist in five games, but she led the entire WUSA in scoring with 16 goals and three assists to earn MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors. This year's honor makes it two in a row for the 5'2" forward, who won the 2000 award after being third on the team in scoring with 15 goals and nine assists and leading the way with three goals at the 2000 Olympics.
A superstar three years ago at the Under-17 level, Beasley had a breakout year in 2001 that included his full debut with the Men's National Team debut. The 19-year-old midfielder was also a key player for the U.S. Under-20 MNT, leading the team in scoring with five goals and five assists in seven matches and helping them qualify for the FIFA World Youth Championship. As just a second-year pro with the Chicago Fire, he was third on the team in games and minutes played and had two goals and six assists to help the Fire win the Central Division in MLS.
Displaying a presence in the midfield that is rare at her age, it's no wonder that the 19-year-old Cramer was second on the full U.S. Women's National Team in games with nine and third in minutes played. She was also an indispensable part of the U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team, helping the team win the prestigious Nordic Cup by providing two goals and two assists in a 6-1 thrashing of Sweden in the championship game. At BYU, the 5'11" sophomore led the team in scoring with nine goals and nine assists for 27 points and helped the Cougars to the NCAA tournament, for which she was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
This year's voting process was again highlighted by an opportunity for fans to be involved, which they did in great numbers by logging on to www.ussoccer.com. 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. Last year, Chevrolet extended its relationship with U.S. Soccer through 2004.
All-Time Chevrolet/U.S. Soccer Award Winners
Male Athlete of the Year
Female Athlete of the Year
Perry Van der Beck
Carin Gabarra (Carin Jennings)
Young Male Athlete of the Year
Young Female Athlete of the Year
EARNIE STEWART -- Midfielder -- U.S. MNT / NAC Breda (Holland)
After finishing second in scoring in 2000 with four goals and four assists, Stewart stepped up and scored five goals to lead the U.S. team in scoring in 2001 with 10 points ... All five goals came during the successful, 10-game final round of World Cup qualifying ... Scored in the first two qualifying games, a 2-0 win over Mexico on Feb. 28 and a 2-1 win at Honduras on March 28 ... Almost pulled off a hat trick, but had to settle for two goals in a 3-2 loss to Honduras on Sept. 1 ... For the second consecutive year, he had arguably the biggest impact of any European-based player on the U.S. team in 2001 ... His stellar year and scoring touch for the U.S. MNT has translated to his pro season, in which he's scored an impressive seven goals in 17 league matches for NAC Breda in the Dutch Honor Division.
TIFFENY MILBRETT -- Forward -- U.S. WNT / New York Power (WUSA)
Over the past few years, Milbrett has emerged as one of the best players in the world, as she consistently scored goals against all comers with the U.S. Women's National Team ... Led the team in scoring in 2001 with three goals and one assist in five games ... Scored in three consecutive games on June 30, July 1 and Sept. 9 ... Was a finalist for the first ever FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, losing to U.S. teammate Mia Hamm .. Had a fantastic year in 2001 as part of the New York Power, leading the WUSA in scoring with 16 goals and three assists to earn MVP and Offensive Player of the Year honors ... Won the 2000 U.S. Soccer / Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year award after being third on the team in scoring with 15 goals and nine assists and leading the way with three goals at the 2000 Olympics.
DaMARCUS BEASLEY -- Midfielder -- U.S. MNT, Under-20 MNT / Chicago Fire (MLS)
Made his full National Team debut on Jan. 27 with an impressive 90-minute performance in a 2-1 win against China ... Played three matches for the U.S. Men's National Team in 2001, starting against China, Colombia and in the last of 10 final round World Cup qualifiers at Trinidad & Tobago on Nov. 11 … Named one of World Soccer Magazine's "Top 100 Rising Stars" in the world …Tore up the CONCACAF Under-20 Qualifying Tournament with three goals and four assists in three matches ... Was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player ... Put together two goals and two assists in the USA's 5-1 win against Trinidad & Tobago on March 20 ... Tallied two goals and one assist at the FIFA World Youth Championship … Was the Under-20's leading scorer in international matches with five goals and five assists in seven matches ... Had two goals and six assists in his second year with the Chicago Fire, helping them win the Central Division ... Was third on the Fire in games and minutes played.
ALEISHA CRAMER -- Midfielder -- U.S. WNT, Under-21 WNT / Bringham Young University (NCAA)
The 5-foot-11 midfielder played in nine matches for the full national team in 2001, second most in the pool, upping her career caps to 16 ... Finished third on the team in minutes played ... Was also a key member of the U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team, helping the team win the prestigious Nordic Cup in August ... Started all four games for the U-21s at the Nordic Cup in Norway, and exploded in the championship game, getting two goals and two assists in a 6-1 thrashing of Sweden ... Played in 10 total matches for the U-21s in 2001 ... Played her sophomore season at BYU in 2001, helping the Cougars to the NCAA tournament ... Was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year ... Led BYU in scoring with nine goals and nine assists for 27 points from the midfield.