CHICAGO (Dec. 14, 2017) – U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Christian Pulisic has been voted the 2017 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year, with the announcement taking place earlier today live on the The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FS1. The 19-year-old becomes the youngest player in the award’s 34-year history to earn the honor, besting Landon Donovan who won it for the first time at age 21 in 2003.
"It really is a big honor and I just want to thank everyone who voted for me to win U.S. Male Player of the Year," Pulisic said. "It’s something that I never could have imagined to be here in this position. I’m thankful for everyone who supported me and I’m excited for the future."
- READ MORE: Making the Case for Christian Pulisic
Votes were collected from Men’s National Team players that earned a cap in 2017, Men’s National Team and Youth Men’s National Team coaches, Major League Soccer, North American Soccer League and United Soccer League head coaches, as well as select former players, administrators and media members.
Receiving a comprehensive 94 percent of the tabulated votes, Pulisic turned in a remarkable performance for the MNT in 2017. The MNT’s biggest offensive contributor during the year, the 19-year-old recorded six goals and four assists in nine matches, but either directly (goal or assist) or indirectly (earning a free kick, rebound on a shot), was involved in 13 of the 17 goals scored during matches in which he played this year.
On the club front, Pulisic ended his first full season with the Borussia Dortmund first team by recording three goals and three assists in 25 matches across all competitions for the Bundesliga runners-up. Along with featuring for BVB in the UEFA Champions League, Pulisic topped the 2016-17 campaign by earning the game-winning penalty kick in Dortmund’s 2-1 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB-Pokal Final on May 27. Pulisic has continued to be one of Dortmund’s most influential players this season.
Pulisic becomes the 24th different player to be named U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year since it was first awarded to midfielder Rick Davis in 1984. Click here for the full list of U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year winners.Read more
LAKEWOOD RANCH, Florida (Dec. 13, 2017) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team defeated its counterparts from Haiti 5-0 in the first of two friendly matches between the teams that will conclude the USA’s programming for 2017.
The teams will meet against on Friday, Dec. 15, at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. (7:30 p.m. ET). Admission is free.
Both the USA and Haiti are preparing for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Under-17 Championship, scheduled for April 19-29 in Nicaragua. The tournament will qualify three teams to the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.
The USA scored its first three goals in a nine-minute span from the 12th to the 20th minute. The first goal came off a corner kick as Sunshine Fontes sent her service to the near post and Makenna Morris flicked it on to Tori Hansen, who finished it behind the goalkeeper.
Fontes scored the second goal two minutes later after Natalia Staude sent a diagonal ball over the top from her left back position. Fontes collected the ball outside the penalty box on the right side and finished it into the far post after three aggressive touches toward the net.
The third goal came after Smith Hunter sprinted down the left wing, beating several defenders, and sent a cross into the penalty box. Samantha Kroeger skillfully popped the ball up with her thigh and finished it with her head.
Hunter set up the fourth goal as well, taking off on a counter attack before slotting a firm pass on the ground across the middle to Maya Doms, who finished on the cusp of halftime.
The USA’s lone goal in the second half came five minutes from time. Peyton Linnehan raced down the right flank with the ball and started to penetrate towards goal before chipping a cross to the back post for Isabella D’Aquila to finish with her head.
The U-17s have been quite active this year as they prepare for qualifying. The squad has played tournaments in Slovenia/Italy and China while also defeating England in two late August games in Portland, Oregon by a 12-3 aggregate score. The team traveled to Mexico City in mid-November for two matches against the Mexico U-17 WNT, tying 1-1 and winning 4-0. The U-17s have lost just one of 12 international games this year, a wild back-and-forth 5-4 setback against China in Weifang in July.
The roster for these two matches consist of 22 players born in 2001 – the age cut off year for the next U-17 Women’s World Cup -- and four born in 2002.
U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team Match Report
Match: United States U-17 Women’s National Team vs. Haitian U-17 Women’s National Team
Date: December 13, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Premier Sports Camps, Lakewood Ranch, FL
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET
Weather: 62 degrees, sunny, windy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 1 5
HAI 0 0 0
USA – Tori Hansen (Makenna Morris) 12th minute
USA – Sunshine Fontes (Natalia Staude) 14
USA – Samantha Kroeger (Smith Hunter) 20
USA – Maya Doms (Smith Hunter) 45
USA – Isabella D’Aquila (Payton Linnehan) 85
USA: 12-Angelina Anderson (capt.), 2-Makenna Morris (4-Talia DellaPeruta, 76), 15-Natalia Staude, 5-Tori Hansen (25-Bria Schrotenboer, 72), 16-Smith Hunter, 20-Sophia Jones, 8-Maya Doms (24-Ariella Pitty, 72), 10-Mia Fishel, 21-Samantha Kroeger (13-Isabella D’Aquila, 60), 9-Jordan Canniff (11-Payton Linnehan, 76), 18-Sunshine Fontes
Subs not used: 1-Halle Mackiewicz, 3-Kate Wiesner, 6-Astrid Wheeler, 7-Samantha Meza, 14-Croix Bethune, 17-Mackenzee Vance, 19-Kalyssa Van Zanten, 22-Lindsey Romig, 23-Enzi Broussard
Head Coach: Mark Carr
HAI: 1-Madeline Fleuriot, 2-Dougenie Tabitha, 4-Ruthny Mathurin, 5-Estericove Joseph, 6-Angeline Gustave, 7-Abaina Louis (3-Nancy Lindor, 51), 10-Daelle Melchie Dumornay (capt), 13-Rachelle Caremus, 14-Bethina Petit Frere (8-Dieunica Jean Baptiste, 73), 15-Danielle Etienne (20-Flero-Dina Surpris, 70), 16-Isabelle Bernier (9-Samantha Dumont, 52)
Subs not used: 11-Elisabeth Brivil, 12-Edjenie Joseph, 17-Beurnengy Adrien, 18-Maille Jean Baptiste, 19-Milan Pierre Jerome
Head Coach: Fiorda Charles
Stats Summary: USA / HAI
Shots: 15 / 2
Shots on Goal: 10 / 1
Saves: 1 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 0
Fouls: 7 / 6
Offside: 2 / 1
HAI – n/a (Caution) 90th minute
One of the most exciting prospects in the U.S. Men’s National Team pipeline is 18-year-old Jonathan Gonzalez. Long part of the U.S. Youth National Team setup, the holding midfielder was recently named a finalist for 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year, thanks in large part to his breakout campaign with Liga MX side Monterrey and appears to have a bright future ahead for both club and country.
Here are five things you should know about the Rayados’ midfielder:
The son of Mexican-American parents, Jonathan Gonzalez was born on April 13, 1999, in Santa Rosa, Calif. He grew up playing for his hometown club Atletico before embarking on a professional journey down south. More on that later...
U.S. Youth National Teams
A dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, Gonzalez has long been in the U.S. Youth National Team program, often as one of the youngest players in his respective teams. The talented midfielder earned his first international call-up in 2012, joining the likes of current MNT players Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie with the U-14 Boys’ National Team.
Gonzalez has continued to represent U.S. youth teams at almost every level and tasted success in 2016 when he helped the U-18 MNT win the Václav Ježek Tournament in the Czech Republic.
He most recently represented the U-20 MNT earlier this year, when at age 17, he was included in Tab Ramos’ squad for the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Costa Rica.
The youngest member of the first U.S. squad to win the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, Gonzalez made two appearances for Ramos’ side in 2017 and remains age-eligible to be part of the U-20 cycle for 2019.
Liga MX Discovery
While Gonzalez was firmly in the U.S. Youth National Team pipeline, a major turning point in his young career came during a 2013 Alianza de Futbol event held in San Francisco. Scouted heavily by clubs in both the U.S. and Mexico, the event proved to be a breakout showcase for Gonzalez, who impressed enough to reportedly receive Academy offers from 13 of the 18 Liga MX clubs in attendance.
Ultimately, he decided to accept an offer to join the Academy of storied Mexican side Monterrey. While he was taking the next step with one of the top clubs in Mexican football, the decision for him to move at such a young age didn’t come easily for his family.
"I still remember the day I left," Gonzalez told ESPNFC in August. "I was 14, about to turn 15, and my parents were really nervous. I really wanted to go and they were between should we let him go, should we not. But we sat down, had a family talk and we thought it was probably the best for me."
Gonzalez continued the trend of “playing up” with older age groups, slotting in with the U-17 side not long after joining the club and playing plenty with the U-20 team. Pulling double-duty, he ended his time with the younger side by helping the team win the Liga MX U-17 title in May 2017.
Jump to Monterrey First Team
Having impressed at youth level, Gonzalez was invited to the first team’s training camp ahead of the 2017 Apertura tournament. There, he found himself in a unique position while regular holding midfielder and Mexican international Jesus Molina was away at the CONCACAF Gold Cup with El Trí.
Given another opportunity to shine, the 18-year-old took full advantage in the lead-up to the new season as Monterrey boss Antonio Mohamed rewarded the effort when he made the decision to start Gonzalez in the club’s season-opener on July 21 at Morelia.
"He came and talked to me and told me I have a lot of potential, [and] that I would be starting because the starting center-mid [Jesus Molina] was with the [Mexican] national team," Gonzalez said to ESPN FC. "He told me it was my time to take the opportunity and not let it go."
A simple yet effective player, Gonzalez has become a fixture in the Monterrey midfield ever since his mid-July debut, appearing in 24 games across all competitions. The cover in front of Los Rayados’ back line, Gonzalez’s ability to see the game combined with his composure in possession has been revelatory in helping Monterrey clinch the regular season title as well as places in the 2017 Apertura Liga MX and Copa MX Finals.
Thanks to his involvement with the U.S. U-20 MNT and his breakout run with Monterrey, Gonzalez was nominated for U.S. Soccer’s Young Male Player of the Year on Dec. 5.
The U-20 MNT midfielder took part in both legs of the Liga MX APertura 2017 Final as Monterrey fell 3-2 on aggregate to city-rivals Tigres UANL on Dec. 10. With consideration towards his breakout campaign, days later, Gonzalez was named to Diaro Récord's Liga MX Best XI.
ONCE IDEAL A2017— DIARIO RÉCORD (@record_mexico) December 13, 2017
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🇺🇸 J. González 🤠
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¿Qué cambios harían?https://t.co/FTKB5xjCjX pic.twitter.com/xVP3yr7bE6
Gonzalez and Los Rayados will try to make amends for their miss in the Liga MX Final when they face MNT defender Omar Gonzalez and Pachuca in the Copa MX Final on Thursday, Dec. 21 in Monterrey.Read more