Bradley, Dempsey among U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year finalists
Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson, DeAndre Yedlin and Brad Guzan are U.S. Soccer's finalists for Male Athlete of the Year, the federation announced on Monday. The winner will be announced on Friday.
Should Dempsey win, he would tie Landon Donovan's U.S. record of winning the award four times. He's also trying to match Donovan's record for all-time U.S. goals. With his U.S.-best nine this year, Dempsey is within nine Donovan's mark of 57. Seven of those nine came at last summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, in which the U.S. settled for a disappointing fourth-place finish.
The 28-year-old Bradley inherited the captain's armband from Dempsey ahead of the Gold Cup and has not relinquished it, becoming the leader of the U.S. team. He had three goals and six assists during a year in which he also passed the 100-cap mark.
Johnson has enjoyed a tremendous run of form on the club level with Borussia Monchengladbach, scoring against Sevilla and Juventus and setting up a pair of goals against Manchester City in the Champions League and also scoring against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. He was notably sent away from the U.S. team after asking to be subbed out of the CONCACAF Cup final vs. Mexico in extra time, but he returned for the USA's first two 2018 World Cup qualifying matches, scoring against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Guzan became the USA's No. 1 goalkeeper with Tim Howard on hiatus and he won Golden Glove honors at the Gold Cup. He and Howard are splitting starter's minutes with both Premier League goalkeepers active again on the international level.
Yedlin notched five assists for the U.S. this year, and on the club level he secured a loan from Tottenham to Sunderland and has been a regular starter for the Black Cats.
Prior to Monday, U.S. Soccer had announced that World Cup champions Carli Lloyd, Lauren Holiday, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo are the female finalists, with Lloyd the clear favorite. She is also a finalist for FIFA Women's World Player of the Year.
The Young Female Player of the Year finalists are Samantha Mewis (Western NY Flash, U.S. U-23 WNT, USWNT), Savannah DeMelo (U.S. U-20 WNT), Brianna Pinto (U.S. U-20, U-17 WNT), Ashley Sanchez (U.S. U-20, U-17 WNT) and Mallory Pugh (U.S. U-20 WNT).
The Young Male Player of the Year finalists are Emerson Hyndman (Fulham, USMNT, U.S. U-23, U-20), Matt Miazga (New York Red Bulls, USMNT, U-23, U-20), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham, U.S. U-23, U.S. U-20), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund, U.S. U-17) and Gedion Zelalem (Rangers–on loan from Arsenal, U.S. U-23, U-20).