- Jozy Altidore was named the U.S. Soccer men's player of the year on Friday, with Christian Pulisic taking home the young men’s player of the year award.
A healthy Jozy Altidore is an award-winning Jozy Altidore. The resurgent 27-year-old forward was named U.S. Soccer’s men’s player of the year for the second time on Friday evening.
After finally overcoming the chronic hamstring issues that cost him most of the past three major international tournaments, Altidore hit his stride toward the end of the summer. He closed out the MLS regular season with 10 goals and three assists in just 14 matches, then powered Toronto FC to Saturday’s MLS Cup final with five goals and four helpers in five playoff games.
During a difficult year for the U.S. national team, Altidore was effective when healthy and finished 2016 with a team-leading six goals. He scored three times during the two September World Cup qualifying wins that propelled the U.S. to the Hexagonal.
“This is truly an honor to receive this award,” Altidore said in a statement provided by U.S. Soccer. “It’s also very humbling when you look at such a talented group of teammates nominated for this accolade along with you. At the end of the day, any success I have had on the field this year is in large part due to their success and contributions."
Altidore also won American soccer’s highest honor in 2013, when he completed his record-setting season at AZ Alkmaar. He accumulated 32 percent of the voting for the 2016 award, beating out finalists Bobby Wood (30 percent), Geoff Cameron (15 percent), Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey. Voting was conducted by active national team players; coaches from U.S. Soccer, MLS, NASL and USL; select former players, administrators and media members.
Altidore is joined on the honor roll by Christian Pulisic, who claimed the Federation’s young men’s player of the year award in a landslide. Pulisic, 18, became a sensation this year as he emerged as a frequent starter at Borussia Dortmund and made his senior U.S. debut. But the Pennsylvania product didn’t stop there. He played in the Copa América Centenario and finished the year with three goals and two assists in 11 U.S. appearances. In addition, he became the youngest foreigner to score in a Bundesliga game when he found the net in Dortmund’s April win over Hamburger SV. He scored again a week later against VfB Stuttgart.
Pulisic won 86 percent of the vote. Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris, who will face Altidore in Saturday’s MLS final, came in second at five percent.
A player can win the young player honor only once. Altidore is one of three men to be named senior and young player of the year during his career. The others are Bradley and Landon Donovan.
U.S. Soccer will reveal the winners of the women’s awards on Tuesday.