- U.S. Soccer Reveals Winners for Best Academy Story, Best Fan Costume, Best Performance: Player and Best Soccer Specialty StoreÂ
- Studio 90 Reveals Winners on ussoccer.com and Interviews Men's National Team Goalkeeper Tim HowardÂ
- Final Winners to be Unveiled Thursday, Followed by 2010 Athletes of the Year on Monday, Dec. 20
CHICAGO (Dec. 15, 2010) â€” U.S. Soccer has announced the next four winners of the 2010 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards following the conclusion of voting on ussoccer.com. The winners of Best Academy Story, Best Fan Costume, Best Performance: Player and Best Soccer Specialty Store were presented on ussoccer.com's popular web show Studio 90. The final four winners will be revealed Thursday.
The ninth annual installment of the Best of U.S. Soccer Awards was decided entirely by fan ballots cast from Nov. 22 to Dec. 10 on ussoccer.com.
Following the unveiling of the 2010 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards, U.S. Soccer will announce the winners for the 2010 Athlete of the Year Awards on Monday, Dec. 20.
Several U.S. soccer players distinguished themselves on the world stage in 2010, fans had the tough task of choosing between several career-defining individual player performances. Topping the list for Best Performance: Player was Tim Howard for his crucial role in the USAâ€™s opening game of the World Cup on June 12 in Rustenburg, South Africa, against England. The 31-year-old veteran garnered 45 percent of the vote for his role keeping the U.S. in the game against England by providing six key saves. Howard was also named ussoccer.comâ€™s Man of the Match for his performance. Second place went to U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley for his effort against Slovenia on June 18 in the World Cup (35 percent). Coming in third place with 13 percent of the vote was Abby Wambachâ€™s performance on May 22 against Germany.
â€œIt's a pretty cool award and a nice honor,â€ said Howard speaking on Studio 90 to accept the award for Best Performance: Player. â€œI certainly would like to thank the fans who voted for me at ussoccer.com. It's very special and to win two years in a row means a heck of a lot.â€
â€œIt was my first World Cup game and against such an incredible opponent," continued Howard. â€œThere was so much riding on that game and so much a emotion. I remember a sense from the guys that we weren't scared going into that game and were really up for the challenge.â€
Best Fan Costume gave voters the chance to decide which outrageous outfit worn by U.S. Soccer fans trumped all challengers in patriotism and creativity. Fans from across the country submitted photos showing their sartorial support for the team. â€œSouth Africa Starting 11,â€ which featured a group of U.S. fans head to toe in U.S. gear, topped the polls with 26 percent of the vote. Coming in second was â€œUltimate Fansâ€ which showed some of U.S. Soccerâ€™s furriest canine supporters decked out in red, white and blue (15 percent). Coming in third with 12 percent of the vote was â€œTraditional Garbâ€ which featured two U.S. Soccer supporters ready for the USAâ€™s match against Poland outside of Chicagoâ€™s Soldier Field.
Best Academy Story recognized Gale Agbossoumonde (IMG Academy) and Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls) as the first two Development Academy alumni to get the call into the U.S. Menâ€™s National Team. Both earned their first caps against South Africa on Nov. 17 in the Nelson Mandela Challenge with Agudelo popping up to score the game-winner late in the match. Second place in the category commended the influx of homegrown academy players in Major League Soccer while the continued success of Academy Alumni moving to clubs abroad was deemed the third best Academy Story of 2010.
Soccer Fanatic in San Diego earned the top spot for Best Soccer Specialty Store with 29 percent of the vote, making it back-to-back titles for the Southern California store after its 2009 victory. The 2005 winner, Chicago Soccer, placed second with 14 percent of the vote. Third place for Best Soccer Specialty Store went to two-time winner Angeloâ€™s Soccer Corner in Pennsylvania (12 percent).
The final four awards for Best Assist, Best Soccer Bar, Best Soccer Blog and Best Studio 90 Feature will be presented on Thursday, Dec. 16 on ussoccer.com.
The 2010 Athlete of the Year Awards include Male, Female, Young Male and Young Female Athletes of the Year and will be announced early next week. As the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, U.S. Soccerâ€™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 50 percent of the total, while the remaining 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.
2010 Best of U.S. Soccer Results â€“ Best Performance: Player, Best Fan Costume, Best Academy Story, and Best Soccer Specialty Store
|Best Performance: Player|
|1. Tim Howard, June 12 vs. England||45%|
|2. Michael Bradley, June 18 vs. Slovenia||35%|
|3. Abby Wambach, May 22 vs. Germany||13%|
|Best Fan Costume|
|1. South Africa Starting 11||26%|
|2. Ultimate Fans||15%|
|3. Traditional Garb||12%|
|Best Academy Story|
|1. First Two Academy Alumni Play for U.S. Menâ€™s National Team||39%|
|2. Influx of Homegrown Academy Players in Major League Soccer||21%|
|3. Academy Players Finding Success Abroad||14%|
|Best Soccer Specialty Store|
|1. Soccer Fanatic, San Diego||29%|
|2. Chicago Soccer, Chicago||14%|
|3. Angeloâ€™s Soccer Corner, Pennsylvania||12%|