Dempsey U.S. Player of The Year
Dempsey U.S. Player of The Year avatar

For the third time in his career Clint Dempsey was named U.S. Soccer’s Athlete of the Year, joining a select group with Kasey Keller and Landon Donovan who have won the award more than two times. Recently retired goalkeeper Keller collected three awards, while Landon Donovan leads the way with four.

U.S. Soccer also announced that U17 midfielder Rubio Rubin is the Young Player of the Year, and that Felicia Schroeder is the winner of the organization’s first ever Disabled Athlete of the Year.

Schroeder’s achievement will surely inspire many young girls. (ISI Photos/Renee McKay

Schroeder played a big part in the United States Gold medal performance at the World Deaf Football championships, held last July in Turkey. Schroeder, who plays professionally in the Swedish First Division for Kvarnsveden, scored four goals for the victorious American squad.

Rubio Rubin in action for the U17’s (ISI Photos/John Dorton)

Rubin is a skillful midfielder who scored eight goals for the national team in 2012, and he is also a member of the Portland Timbers Academy team. Still a key player for the United States U17’s, Rubio joins some pretty good company in winning this award.  The list includes Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Eddie Johnson, Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan and last year’s winner Brek Shea. The complete list of Young Player of the Year Award winner’s is below, and Rubio has a lot to live up to. Every player on that list, with the exception of 2009 winner Luis Gil, who is still just 19 and may get there yet, has played at least one game for the full United States team.

1998: Josh Wolff

1999: Ben Olsen

2000: Landon Donovan

2001: DaMarcus Beasley

2002: Bobby Convey

2003: Freddy Adu

2004: Eddie Johnson

2005: Benny Feilhaber

2006: Jozy Altidore

2007: Michael Bradley

2008: Sacha Kljestan

2009: Luis Gil

2010: Gale Agbossoumonde

2011: Brek Shea

2012: Rubio Rubin

Dempsey’s win was no surprise, in a year that saw Dempsey score six goals for the national team, including five in World Cup Qualifying. Dempsey also brought his club game to new heights, scoring 17 goals in the English Premier League and earning a high profile transfer to Tottenham Hotspurs. This has also been the year that has seen Dempsey become the face, if sometimes scowling, of the United States men’s team. With Donovan absent for much of the USMNT schedule, Dempsey has overtaken Donovan in the eyes most as the Yanks best, and most important player.

Clint Dempsey scored the winning goal for Tottenham against Man Utd. (Getty Images)

Through U.S. Soccer Dempsey said, “I want to thank the fans for voting for me.” The fan vote counted for 50%, with the national media and U.S. Soccer making up the other half. Dempsey continued, “It’s always great to be recognized for doing a good job, but at the same time, it’s been a team effort from all the players and coaches.”

Dempsey also said that, “I’ve been trying to better myself every year and do my part to help the team do well.” Although happy to win the award, Dempsey made his priorities clear saying, “the most important thing is that we make it to Brazil and do well.” “Deuce” emphasized that, “we want to qualify for the World Cup, that’s the main focus.” “It’s not about getting awards,” Dempsey underlines, “it’s about the team doing well.”

Clint Dempsey has been a different class. (ISI Photos/John Todd)

If all goes according to plan, Brazil 2014 will be Dempsey’s third World Cup representing his country. It doesn’t sound like the native of Nacogdoches, Texas is taking anything for granted when he speaks of the World Cup saying, “it’s something you don’t want to let slip through your fingers, so we have to make sure we take advantage of that opportunity.”

Below find the all of the previous winners of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year Award. Clint Dempsey joins Landon Donovan as the only consecutive winners.

1984: Rick Davis

1985: Perry Van der Beck

1986: Paul Caligiuri

1987: Brent Goulet

1988: Peter Vermes

1989: Mike Windischmann

1990: Tab Ramos

1991: Hugo Perez

1992: Marcelo Balboa

1993: Thomas Dooley

1994: Marcelo Balboa

1995: Alexi Lalas

1996: Eric Wynalda

1997: Kasey Keller

1998: Cobi Jones

1999: Kasey Keller

2000: Chris Armas

2001: Earnie Stewart

2002: Brad Friedel

2003: Landon Donovan

2004: Landon Donovan

2005: Kasey Keller

2006: Oguchi Onyewu

2007: Clint Dempsey

2008: Tim Howard

2009: Landon Donovan

2010: Landon Donovan

2011: Clint Dempsey

2012: Clint Dempsey

 

About Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan is a staff writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, covering MLS and other US leagues, He's GotSoccer's chief National Team Correspondent.
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