As 2016 comes to a close, Jozy Altidore and Christian Pulisic each are culminating strong years with honors from U.S. Soccer.
Altidore was named 2016 Male Player of the Year, having also won the award in 2013, while Pulisic was named 2016 Young Male Player of the Year. The 27-year old Altidore plays for Toronto FC in Major League Soccer and the 18-year old Pulisic plys his trade in Germany for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund.
“This is truly an honor to receive this award,” Altidore said. “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 led the U.S. Men’s National Team with six goals and two assists during 10 appearances in 2016. Four of his six goals came in World Cup qualifiers, with his brace in the 4-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago on September 6 taking him to a record-setting 16 all-time goals in qualifying. He also had 10 goals and five assists through 23 matches for Toronto FC in 2016 helping his club reach MLS Cup.
The voting margins for the Male Athlete of the Year award were razor thin, with Altidore receiving 32 percent of the tabulated votes, closely followed by Bobby Wood (30 percent) and Geoff Cameron (15 percent).
Pulisic’s star throughout 2016 has continued to rise both with the national team and with Borussia Dortmund. After making his Bundesliga debut in January, he received his first senior national team call up and at 17 years, 193 days. He would become the youngest player to appear for the men’s national team in a World Cup qualifier during the team’s 4-0 win against Guatemala on March 29 in Columbus.
He also became the youngest non-German to score in the Bundesliga (April 17 vs. Hamburg) and score two goals in the Bundesliga (April 23 vs. Stuttgart). For the United States, he became the youngest to score a goal for the men’s national team (May 28 vs. Bolivia), score in a World Cup qualifier (Sept. 2 at St. Vincent and the Grenadines) and start a World Cup qualifier (Sept. 6 vs. Trinidad & Tobago). Pulisic went on to finish 2016 with three goals and two assists from 11 caps.
For Young Male Athlete of the Year, Pulisic garnered 86 percent of the vote, followed by Jordan Morris (five percent) and Andrew Carleton (four percent).