CHICAGO, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. national team defender Oguchi Onyewu and forward Kristine Lilly have been voted the 2006 U.S. Soccer players of the year.
Onyewu, 24, is the first defender to win the honor since Alexi Lalas in 1995.
"It's an honor to be recognized as one of the elite athletes of U.S. Soccer," Onyewu said. " ... It is truly a privilege to be able to represent your country, and I hope to continue to have a positive impact on U.S. Soccer for many years to come."
Lilly, 35, is the third player to win the women's honor three times, joining Michelle Akers and Mia Hamm. She previously won in 1993 and 2005.
"I love this game, and this game has given me so much," Lilly said. "This award is another example of that.
"My success on the field is a tribute to what the team accomplished this year. I helped the team and the team helped me, and we are all united in the same goal, to win the World Cup in 2007. Hopefully, we can continue this success next year and on to China and bring back the World Cup to the United States."