Five finalists for U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year were announced this morning in Chicago.
The honor, first awarded in 1984 to midfielder Rick Davis, has a new voting system in place beginning this year-- it will come down to a vote among U.S. Soccer coaches and staff, players who capped in 2015, head coaches in MLS and NASL, and "select media members" (Grant Wahl, Alexi Lalas, welllllll that's all of them!), as well as former players and "administrators." Vague, I say, vague!
We don't play those shadow games over here at Hudson River Blue. In fact, we're transparent as hell, and pridefully so. On this occasion, then, we're holding our own vote for U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year.
First, the nominees:
MICHAEL SHEEHAN BRADLEY
D.O.B.: 31 July 1987
POSITION, CLUB: Central midfielder, Toronto FC
INTERNATIONAL CAPS: 109
LANGUAGE FLUENCY: Always-correct Wikipedia states Italian, Dutch, German, Spanish, and presumably English also.
NOTES: The current sometimes-captain of the national side, Bradley is the only nominee to have scored a goal against Mexico. A veteran of the Bundesliga, Serie A, and the Dutch Eredivisie. His bald head may or may not be capable of reflecting lasers.
CLINTON DREW DEMPSEY
D.O.B.: 9 March 1983
POSITION, CLUB: Forward, Seattle Sounders
INTERNATIONAL CAPS: 120
BUT CAN HE RAP: More or less, yes.
NOTES: The Deuce has won this honor three times already, doing so in 2007, '11, and '12. The sometimes-captain of the USMNT was famously stripped of the armband this summer following a well-earned red card for referee abuse in a fateful U.S. Open Cup match between his Sounders and the eventual MLS Cup champs from Portland.
BRADLEY EDWIN GUZAN
D.O.B.: 9 September 1984
POSITION, CLUB: Goalkeeper, Aston Villa
INTERNATIONAL CAPS: 41
ASSISTS: Somehow, earned one for Villa when Andreas Weimann scored against Manchester City on 28 November 2013.
NOTES: Made the MLS Best XI in 2007 with Chivas USA. Took over between the sticks for the USA when top choice Tim Howard took a sabbatical following the 2014 World Cup.
FABIAN MARCO JOHNSON
D.O.B.: 11 December 1987
POSITION, CLUB: Winger/fullback, Borussia Monchengladbach
INTERNATIONAL CAPS: 42
U.S. YOUTH TEAM EXPERIENCE: None. Between 2003 and '09, played for Germany's Under-17's, 18's, 19's, 20's, and 21's.
NOTES: On form, the hottest current U.S. player. Has scored UEFA Champions League goals this fall against Sevilla and Juventus. In recent Bundesliga play, scored a brace against former club Hoffenheim and a result-sealing goal against mega-giants Bayern Munich. Widely regarded as one of the German league's fastest players on and off the ball.
DEANDRE ROSELLE YEDLIN
D.O.B.: 9 July 1993
POSITION, CLUB: Fullback/winger, Tottenham Hotspur. Currently on loan with Sunderland.
INTERNATIONAL CAPS: 29
WHAT HE WON LAST YEAR: U.S. Soccer Young Athlete of the Year, MLS Supporters' Shield, U.S. Open Cup
NOTES: The wide man was the Seattle Sounders' first-ever homegrown player, and appeared 56 times for the side and made two MLS All-Star Teams (2013, '14) before making a famous move to England's Premier League. In September, recorded his first assist for Sunderland in the League Cup against Manchester City. Made his first Premier League start on October 3rd.
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