December 20, 2010
THEY'RE THE TOPS
Donovan, Wambach U.S. players of year
CHICAGO---U.S. Soccer Monday named U.S. Men’s National Team forward Landon Donovan as the 2010 Male Athlete of the Year and U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach as the 2010 Female Athlete of the Year.
|It should not be surprising that Landon Donovan was named the U.S. Soccer male athlete of the year, given his World Cup accomplishments.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Under-20 MNT defender Gale Agbossoumonde and U-20 WNT goalkeeper Bianca Henninger won the Young Male and Young Female Awards, respectively.
Donovan was voted male athlete of the year honor for the fourth time, the only athlete to win that many times. This year’s award makes Donovan a back-to-back winner for the second time after also taking home the top honor in 2009.
Wambach earned the award for the fourth time in her career, with previous wins in 2003, 2004 and 2007. With four athlete of the Year awards, Wambach trails Mia Hamm, who won the award five times (1994-98).
Online votes registered at ussoccer.com counted for 50 percent of the total votes, while the other 50 percent was represented by votes compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives, including National Team coaches and the members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors. A player can only win the Young Athlete award once in their career.
Donovan, 28, helped catapult the U.S. to the knockout round of the World Cup in South Africa. He played a large part in the U.S.'s WC run. Donovan’s tournament-saving goal in added time against Algeria instantly became one of the iconic sports moments of this century in the U.S.
“I want to thank everyone who chose me for this honor,” Donovan said in a statement. “I am very proud to have been part of this team and how we represented ourselves this year. For me, the lasting memories from South Africa this summer will be as much about the amazing support we received from fans across the country as our team’s performance. It certainly meant a lot to all of us.”
Wambach scored in double figures in a calendar year for the fifth time and fourth time in the past five years, pounding in 16 goals in 18 games. She also scored in nine games in 2010, raising her career total to 117 goals, good for third in U.S. history behind Hamm and Kristine Lilly and fifth all-time in world history. She had six multiple goal games, including her sixth career hat-trick, and led the USA in scoring during CONCACAF qualifying with a tournament-best eight goals.
Wambach enjoyed a fine Women's Professional Soccer season, starting all 22 regular season games for the Washington Freeom while scoring 13 goals with eight assists, good for second and tied for second in the league, respectively. She was named to the WPS Best XI.
"Thank you to the fans who all voted,” Wambach said in a statement. “I've always been the kind of person who doesn't really focus on individual achievements or awards but, having had the injury and major surgery, it feels good to know I can come back and still play well enough to win those personal accolades. For me though, I'd rather give back every award I've ever won for a World Cup championship."
Henninger, the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. at the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup, played every minute in Germany and allowed only two goals. She was a standout player in all four matches, making several big saves throughout the tournament and was awarded the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper in the tournament. She started 12 international matches for the USA in 2010, compiling a 9-0-1 record while allowing three goals.
Henninger started 20 games for Santa Clara as a junior this past fall, allowing 12 goals while compiling a record of 12-5-2 with eight shutouts. She was named first-team All-West Coast Conference while helping the Broncos into the second round of the NCAA Division I women's Tournament. She was among the conference leaders in save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts.
The youngest member of the U.S. team at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt, Agbossoumonde is the most experienced player in the new cycle. With 25 career caps at the U-20 level, the strong yet calm defender earned his first call to the Men’s National Team during its trip to South Africa in mid-November and became the second player to come out of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy to earn a cap by playing the final four minutes of the 1-0 win.
Agbossoumonde’s first goal at the U-20 level was the game-winner in the championship match of the Milk Cup in July, a tournament during which he wore the captain’s armband for the U.S. side. The center back has appeared in eight of the team’s 10 international games. A product of U.S. Under-17 Residency and IMG Academy, Agbossoumonde has emerged as a force at the youth international level.