On Sunday, six nominees were selected for 2014 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year. The unveiling was announced on ESPN FC, and the winner will be named on Thursday, Nov. 20, live on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Here is a closer look at the players and their defining moments as they hope to earn this esteemed honor:
U.S. MNT Midfielder KYLE BECKERMAN:
- 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 8 caps; 7 starts; 637 minutes
- 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (first World Cup): 3 caps; 3 starts; 270 minutes
- Defining Moments: Beckerman started in the midfield for all three group matches at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He has been named Budweiser Man of the Match on two occasions this year – the USA’s group match against eventual FIFA World Cup champion Germany on June 26 and the USA’s international friendly against No. 3-ranked Colombia on Nov. 14. In the seven years he has represented the MNT, Beckerman’s current minutes total of 637 is second only to his career-high of 680 in 2013.
U.S. MNT Midfielder ALEJANDRO BEDOYA:
- 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 11 caps; 10 starts; 772 minutes; 1 goal
- 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (first World Cup): 4 caps; 3 starts; 283 minutes
- Defining Moments: Bedoya is the USA’s leader with 11 appearances in 2014, and he is tied for the team lead with three other players with 10 starts (a career-high for Bedoya). He was one of nine players to see action in all four games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Bedoya scored the lone goal during the USA’s 1-0 victory against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3, earning Budweiser Man of the Match for his efforts.
U.S. MNT Forward CLINT DEMPSEY:
- 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 9 caps; 9 starts; 805 minutes; 3 goals
- 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (third World Cup): 4 caps; 4 starts; 386 minutes; 2 goals
- Defining Moments: Dempsey scored the fifth-fastest goal in FIFA World Cup history – 29 seconds – during the USA’s group-opening win against Ghana. He also became the first American to score in three World Cups. Dempsey added a goal during the USA’s 2-2 draw against Portugal, giving him four-career World Cup goals.
- Previous Honors: Dempsey was the 2007, 2011 and 2012 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year.
U.S. MNT Goalkeeper TIM HOWARD:
- 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 8 caps; 8 starts; 705 minutes; 1 shutout; 1.15 GAA; 3-3-1 record
- 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (third World Cup): 4 caps; 4 starts; 390 minutes; 1.38 GAA; 1-2-1 record
- Defining Moments: This year, Howard has set a new U.S. MNT standard by becoming the all-time leader in wins with 55 (breaking Kasey Keller’s record of 53) and goalkeeper appearances with 104 (breaking Keller’s record of 102). Howard also recorded a FIFA World Cup-record 15 saves during the USA’s 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium on July 1. He is now the USA’s all-time leader in World Cup goalkeeper appearances (8) and starts (8) and is tied with Brad Friedel for first with two wins. Howard’s 100th cap came against Nigeria on June 7 as he became the 15th MNT player to reach that century milestone.
- Previous Honors: Howard was the 2008 U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year.
U.S. MNT Defender FABIAN JOHNSON:
- 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 10 caps; 10 starts; 785 minutes; 1 goal, 1 assist
- 2014 FIFA World Cup stats (first World Cup): 4 caps; 4 starts; 301 minutes
- Defining Moments: Johnson scored the opening goal during the USA’s 2-1 win against Turkey in the Send-Off Series on June 1. That was Johnson’s first international goal. He was one of seven players to start in all four FIFA World Cup games. Johnson has set career highs in caps (10), starts (10) and minutes (785) as he wraps up his fourth international year with the MNT.
U.S. MNT Midfielder JERMAINE JONES:
- 2014 stats (through Nov. 14): 10 caps; 10 starts; 874 minutes; 1 goal; 1 assist
- 2014 FIFA World Cup stats: 4 caps; 4 starts; 390 minutes; 1 goal; 1 assist
- Defining Moments: For a fourth-consecutive year, Jones has logged double-digit games for the MNT as he nears 50 caps in his international career. Playing in his first World Cup, Jones stepped up in the big stage. He assisted Clint Dempsey’s opening goal during the USA’s group victory against Ghana and then followed that up with a blistering goal against Portugal as the U.S. advanced out of the 2014 FIFA World Cup’s Group of Death. Following the FIFA World Cup, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has transitioned Jones into a center back role for this new World Cup cycle.