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Donovan, Wambach, Adu, Reddick Win Chevrolet Award


CHICAGO (January 15, 2004) – For their excellence at both the international and professional levels, U.S. Soccer named U.S. Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan as the 2003 Chevrolet Male Athlete of the Year and U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach as the 2003 Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year.

As in years past, online votes for the annual awards were tallied and equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes, while the other 50 percent was represented by 100 votes that were compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from National Team coaches to the National Board of Directors). As winners of the top Chevrolet Athlete of the Year awards, Donovan and Wambach each won their choice of a brand new Chevy TrailBlazer or Chevy Malibu.

“We’re honored to once again be involved with the Athlete of the Year awards,” said Phil Caruso, Chevrolet Promotions Manager. "Chevy has a long history of supporting aspiring athletes, and our partnership with U.S. Soccer is just one more example of our ongoing commitment. This year, each of the Adult Athlete winners will receive their choice of either a Chevy TrailBlazer or the all new Chevy Malibu. We’ll also donate $1,000 to the U.S. Soccer Foundation in the name of each Young Athlete winner."

Donovan had another banner year in his young soccer career, leading both the U.S. Men’s National Team and the Earthquakes in scoring while firmly establishing himself as the best finisher in American soccer along the way (perhaps best witnessed by his four-goal performance vs. Cuba in July). For the USA, Donovan far outdistanced any teammate in scoring with seven goals and five assists for 19 points, but he also led the team in minutes played (1,224) and tied for the team lead in games played (15) and games started (13). For San Jose, the 21-year-old attacker rang up 12 goals and six assists in the regular season before providing a crucial golden goal to advance to the MLS Cup Final, where he added a pair of goals and earned MVP honors in leading the ‘Quakes to their second title in three years.

“It’s been a great year for me, both with the National Team and winning another MLS Cup with the Earthquakes,” said Donovan, who becomes the first player to have won the Young Male award and realized his potential to win the top Male award. “It seems like just the other day that I received the youth award, so to be honored with such a major award is amazing.”

One of the new stars of the U.S. Women's National Team, Wambach had a breakout tournament at the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003, leading the team with three goals, including the winning goal in the USA's historic 1-0 victory over Norway in the quarterfinals.  Wambach scored a total of nine goals for the WNT in 2003, upping her career total to 12.  She scored 13 goals with seven assists for the Washington Freedom to tie Mia Hamm for the league-lead in scoring and tallied twice in the WUSA title game, including a thrilling "golden goal" to capture the WUSA championship for her team and Founders Cup III MVP honors for herself.  She was named All-WUSA First-Team and won the WUSA "Goal of the Year" for a spectacular diving header.

“I feel extremely honored and humbled to be included in the company of the players who have won this award before and I owe a lot to my teammates for helping me be in this position,” said Wambach, who is in Carson as the U.S. Women prepare for the Four Nations Tournament in China. “To me, this award stands for the will and determination in striving to be the best you can be, to feel like every day you can change your life.”

U.S. Soccer’s Chevy Male and Female Athletes of the Year awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, dating back to 1984 for the Men and 1985 for the Women. The finalists for each award were nominated on the basis of: a) competing and excelling at the highest level (both at the National Team and professional level) during the calendar year; b) exhibiting decorum on and off the field that reflects well on U.S. Soccer; and c) contributing toward the growth, development, credibility and popularization of soccer in the USA.

In order to highlight up-and-coming stars within the U.S. Youth National Team system, U.S. Soccer and Chevy have also honored the Young Male and Young Female Athletes of the Year since 1988. In 2003, those respective awards went to U.S. Under-17 and Under-20 MNT forward Freddy Adu and U.S. Women’s National Team and Under-21 WNT defender Cat Reddick. Chevy donated $1,000 to the U.S. Soccer Foundation in their name.

Although he began the year as a relatively unknown 13-year-old forward, he ended as the most talked-about soccer talent in the country and made media headlines around the world by signing with MLS at age 14. In between, he was the U-17 Men’s National Team’s deadliest finisher and leading scorer, ringing up 13 goals (one of which won 2003 Best U.S. Youth Goal) and six assists in 16 international matches in 2003. Adu was front and center at the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland in August, exploding for a hat trick in the team’s 6-1 win over South Korea. Adu finished the year appearing in five matches – starting four – and notching an assist for the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team as they rolled to an impressive fifth place finish at the FIFA World Youth Championship in U.A.E.

Reddick had another busy year in 2003, doing double-duty with the U-21s (nine matches) and the full U.S. Women's National Team (17 matches) while finishing school at North Carolina.  She started three games for the USA at the 2003 Nordic Cup, helping the USA to its fifth straight title and fourth in a row for Reddick.  She was forced into duty at the 2003 Women's World Cup after an injury to Brandi Chastain, and had an excellent tournament, starting the USA's final five matches.  She scored two goals in the USA's group game against North Korea, becoming the first U.S. defender to score twice in a Women's World Cup match. Back at UNC, she helped lead the team to the NCAA championship and an undefeated season.  The M.A.C./Hermann Trophy winner and First-Team All-American scored six goals and five assists in 11 games for the Heels leading up to the Final Four.

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 Chevrolet Athlete of the Year awards have a longer history than any major award in American soccer, and they join the FIFA Players of the Year as the only two types of awards that honor both the top male and the top female in the sport.

All-Time Award Winners

YearMale Athlete of the Year                   YearFemale Athlete of the Year
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
Rick Davis
Perry Van der Beck
Paul Caligiuri
Brent Goulet
Peter Vermes
Mike Windischmann
Tab Ramos
Hugo Perez
Marcelo Balboa
Thomas Dooley
Marcelo Balboa
Alexi Lalas
Eric Wynalda
Kasey Keller
Cobi Jones
Kasey Keller
Chris Armas
Earnie Stewart
Brad Friedel
Landon Donovan
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
---
Sharon Remer
April Heinrichs
Carin Jennings
Joy Biefeld
April Heinrich
Michelle Akers
Michelle Akers
Carin Gabarra
Kristine Lilly
Mia Hamm
Mia Hamm
Mia Hamm
Mia Hamm
Mia Hamm
Michelle Akers
Tiffeny Milbrett
Tiffeny Milbrett
Shannon MacMillan
Abby Wambach
YearYouth Male Athlete of the Year   YearYouth Female Athlete of the Year
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
Josh Wolff
Ben Olsen
Landon Donovan
DaMarcus Beasley
Bobby Convey
Freddy Adu
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
Cindy Parlow
Lorrie Fair
Aly Wagner
Aleisha Cramer
Lindsay Tarpley
Cat Reddick

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