Best American Soccer Player In The Universe

As part of the US Soccer’s Best of 2009 Awards, the finalists for Male Athlete Of Year were announced earlier this week.

First, TSG thinks its title for the award sounds much more exciting…see above.

But, without further adeu, the five finalists for the award are:

Michael Bradley…he of the two goals versus Mexico in February and the right place-right-time goal versus Costa Rica in October.

Landon Donovan…he of the truckload of awards (MLS MVP, Honda Player of the Year), assists and all-around stellar play for the USMNT in 2009.

Clint Dempsey…he of the Bronze Ball at the Confederations Cup, brilliant header at Rio Tinto and the current run of 5 goals in 5 matches for Fulham.

Tim Howard…he of the magnificent saves while frequently getting bombarded by shots for both the USMNT and Everton.

Oguchi Onyewu…he of the stalwart central defense, great work with his dome and transfer to AC Milan.

The five 2009 finalists represent 5 of the past 6 winners of the award — Donovan in 2003 and 2004, Onyewu in 2006, Dempsey in 2007 and Howard in 2008

According to US Soccer:

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.

Unlike the Honda Player of the Year this award is based on play for both the national teams and club teams.

Another piece of hardware for Donovan's already crowded 2009 trophy case?

With all of his accolades and press this year, one would expect Landon Donovan to take this one in a walk. The criteria of club play adds an interesting wrinkle as Donovan clearly isn’t “competing and excelling at the highest level” playing his club ball stateside. However, Lando has been the best performer on the national team this year.

Weighing club play more heavily…

Clint Dempsey should get a boost in his bid for the award as a regular starter and current dangerous striker for Fulham in the EPL. Tim Howard and Oguchi Onyewu had stellar first halves of 2009 for Everton and Standard Liège, respectively. However, Howard has had a statistically poor ’09-’10 campaign behind a suspect Toffee defense while Onyewu’s much ballyhooed transfer to AC Milan resulted in little playing time before his October injury.

I’ll let you folks can chime in on who has or has not been true to criteria “b” above. And of the five finalists, Onyewu probably comes out on top for criteria “c”  as his transfer to AC Milan from Standard Liège was viewed and celebrated as a big step forward for American soccer, regardless of his lack of playing time.

The winner will be crowned through voting by fans on US Soccer.com (50%) and media members and US Soccer representatives (collectively, 50%). One can assume that Bob-O can’t vote for Junior, right?

Who are you guys voting for?


Fan voting will be open through December 13th along with all of the Best of 2009 awards, like Best Soccer Blog. (hint…hint.)

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Mutiny RIP on 2009/11/27 at 7:41 PM

    Your analysis following the introduction of the candidates for “Best American Soccer Player in the Universe” did not include any discussion of Michael Bradley. What gives? ;)

    Reply

    • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/11/28 at 5:35 AM

      I see Michael Bradley’s mom or dad must have found your site and voted for him in your poll.

      Reply

  2. i vote other: Charlie Davies… CD9 big ups, and get well soon

    Reply

  3. Posted by Smitty on 2009/11/28 at 10:13 AM

    Bob Bradley certainly COULD vote for Junior – but I think he’s far too objective to do so. I would hope that every player’s Mom would vote for her own son, however.

    Reply

  4. Clint Dempsey, because it might snap him out of his National Team malaise that he’s been in. While most of us admit his showings on the pitch are sometimes sketchy, he has popped up with some big goals for club and country, and is single-handedly showing the Brits what an American attacker looks like, no offense to Dozy who’s starting to make some impact of late.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Timmy on 2009/11/30 at 12:15 PM

    Landon Donovan. 2009 was Landon’s year.
    Dempsey has been playing very strong for club but is hot & cold when it comes to country. Let’s just hope he’s on fire at the WC.

    Reply

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