After a solid run in the 2014 World Cup, six players were chosen as candidates for the U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Award. With many inspiring and eye opening performances throughout the year, many players from the team deserved a shout. However, there were none greater than Howard’s epic 16 save performance game against Belgium, as well as a solid consistency throughout the year. So after collecting votes from a multitude of people that included U.S. coaches, players and staff, American Head Coaches, select media members, and former players and administrators, Howard was officially selected as the US Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. Nike also won big, as five out of the six players wore the brand, with the exception being Jermaine Jones with Under Armour!
Howard has been a long time wearer of the Nike Tiempo Legend series, and wore the Tiempo Legend V during the World Cup as well as with Everton and the other United States’ games. The five other players chosen as candidates were Alejandro Bedoya, Fabian Johnson, Kyle Beckerman, Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones. Bedoya and Beckerman are both Tiempo Legend V wearers despite Beckerman having a few stints in the Magista during the World Cup. Fabian Johnson has been a longtime wearer of the Mercurial Superfly IV, and Dempsey has been contributing to the Sounder’s Playoff run in Nike Hypervenoms. The one exception to the Nike infested candidate list is former CTR360 Maestri wearer Jermaine Jones. He made the recent switch to Under Armour and is currently utilizing the UA Clutchfit.
Personally, I think Tim Howard deserved to win the Athlete of the Year Award. His consistent play in throughout the year has kept us in games and was absolutely phenomenal against Belgium. You only need to type in Tim Howard in YouTube to find a few of his performances. And it’s hard to write off any of his other reaction saves, such as his athletic recovery against Portugal to tip a sure goal over the bar. However, the other five candidates have been superb throughout the year, and there are even a few others that could easily have been included on the list so I could understand the reasoning if another player had won. Another interesting note is that the winner of the 2014 Young Male Athlete of the Year Award will be chosen in December. World Cup Star DeAndre Yedlin, Christian Pulisic, Emerson Hyndman, Mukwelle Akale and Haji Wright are all nominees. I would be pretty surprised if DeAndre Yedlin doesn’t win, but if you haven’t heard of any of the other players then I’d definitely check them out because they all will surely soon be making an impact on the mens national scene if they haven’t already.
Who do you think should have won the US Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Award? And what about the Young Player of the Year Award? Let us know in the comments below!