CHICAGO (Friday, January 17, 2003) - U.S. Soccer announced the winners of its 2002 Chevy Male and Youth Male Athlete of the Year awards at a press conference today in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where the U.S. Men’s National Team is set to kick off 2003 with a match against Canada tomorrow (Jan. 18) at Lockhart Stadium, live at 7:30 p.m. ET on pay-per-view via DirecTV.
The top annual award went to U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who was named 2002 Chevy Male Athlete of the Year. As it has done since 1998, U.S. Soccer and Chevy also announced the Young Male Athlete of the Year award, which went to U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team midfielder and team captain Bobby Convey.
“We’re honored to once again be involved with the Athlete of the Year awards,” said Brian Boyd, Chevrolet brand promotional manager. “This year, each Adult Athlete winner will have their choice of a Chevy TrailBlazer or Chevy Impala. We’ll also donate $1,000 to the U.S. Soccer Foundation in the name of each Young Athlete winner. Chevy has a long history of being there, supporting aspiring athletes and our support of U.S. Soccer is one more example of this.”
Friedel emerged as the first choice in goal for the U.S. Men’s National Team just prior to the 2002 World Cup, where he went on to put together a career-best tournament performance and was one of the key reasons that the U.S. advanced to the Quarterfinals. The 31-year-old native of Bay Village, Ohio, started all five World Cup matches, posting a 2-2-1 record and a 1.40 Goals Against Average. He also tied a World Cup record by stopping two penalty kicks in the first round of a World Cup, doing so against Korea on June 10 and Poland on June 14.
The 6’4” giant has also enjoyed a career year in the pro ranks as the #1 keeper for Blackburn Rovers, who sit in the middle of the English Premier League table thanks to Friedel’s many heroics. He had started 16 of 17 league games, posting a 6-5-5 record with a 1.00 Goals Against Average and five shutouts at the midway point of the 2002-03 season. The former Columbus Crew star and 1997 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year has received glowing reviews all year from managers around the Premiership, being called "Superman" by one and the "best goalkeeper in the league" by several others, including manager and long-time Friedel backer Graeme Souness.
Still a teen at age 19, Convey played for both the Under-23 and the Under-20 Men’s National Teams in 2002. In November, he captained the U.S. Under-20s as they qualified for a record fourth consecutive World Championship in Charleston. A crafty playmaker, he had three assists for the U-20s in 2002, two of which came in the qualifying tournament, as well as two assists for the U-23s to help them finish second at the Madeira International Tournament in Portugal in February.
In just his second full year with D.C. United of MLS, the Philadelphia, Penn., native was second on the team in scoring with 13 points, including a team-leading five goals, and led the team in shots (39) and shots on goal (25).
Convey becomes the third member of the U.S. Under-17 MNT that finished in fourth place at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship to win the Youth Male award, joining 2002 U.S. World Cup stars Landon Donovan (2000) and DaMarcus Beasley (2001) as honorees.
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.
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.
The following is the complete list of Chevy Athlete of the Year award winners:
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