Making The Case: Yunus Musah for U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year

21-year-old Yunus Musah saw his stock continue to rise on both the club and international level in 2023, as his ability to drive things forward in midfield and his summer transfer to Serie A have earned him a nomination for U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year.

READ MORE: 2023 Male Player of the Year Nominees

Fans will have the opportunity to vote on select Player of the Year Awards, with the fan vote comprising 15% of the total vote. Nominees for all awards are selected by U.S. Soccer’s technical staff. Voting for the awards started on Monday, Dec. 11 and closes on Monday, Dec. 18. The winners will be announced in the weeks that follow.

VOTE NOW: Fan Voting for 2023 Player of the Year Awards

Let’s review some of the highlights of Musah’s calendar year:

  • Musah was a fixture in the USMNT lineup in 2023, as his 809 minutes played this year were comfortably the most in the pool among all field players.
  • His nine starts in 10 appearances were additionally the most among field players, level with defender Sergiño Dest. Ricardo Pepi and Brendan Aaronson are the only other USMNT field players to feature 10 times in 2023.
  • Musah earned his 33rd career cap in the team’s Nov. 21 Concacaf Nations League match at Trinidad and Tobago, in the process surpassing Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and Christian Pulisic for the most appearances by a USMNT player before their 21st birthday.
  • His 33 career starts also extend his record of starts by a USMNT player before turning 21 years old. Donovan is second with 27 starts before his 21st birthday.
  • The 20-year-old was a central figure in the team’s run to the 2023 Concacaf Nations League trophy, playing in all four matches and putting in 90-minute shifts in both the 3-0 semifinal win over Mexico and the 2-0 triumph over Canada in the final. For his efforts, Musah was named to the tournament’s Best XI team.
  • Musah made big moves on the club front this year as well. After three seasons with the Valencia first team in La Liga, Musah was acquired by Serie A giants AC Milan on $20 million transfer on Aug. 4.
  • So far in the Serie A season, Musah has appeared 13 times, while adding an additional four appearances in UEFA Champions League for his new club. He’s so far registered one assist, an 87th minute feed to international teammate Christian Pulisic for a late match-winner in Milan’s 1-0 win over Genoa on Oct. 7.
  • This is Musah’s first nomination for U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year. Last year, he was named the 2022 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year in what was his third nomination for the award.