Christian Pulisic breaks record, wins U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year

By Alex Butler
Christian Pulisic breaks record, wins U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year
Dortmund's Christian Pulisic during the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund in Wolfsburg, Germany. Photo by Focke Strangmann/EPA

Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Teenage soccer wizard Christian Pulisic broke another record Thursday by winning U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year.

Pulisic, 19, is the youngest player to ever win the award. Former USMNT captain Landon Donovan held the previous record, when he claimed the prize in 2003 when he was 21-years-old.


Voters from a pool of USMNT players who earned a 2017 cap, USMNT coaches and U.S. youth national team coaches, MLS, NASL and USL head coaches and former players, administrators and media members awarded Pulisic the honor.

Pulisic netted six goals and had four assists in nine games in 2017 for the USMNT. The midfielder scored three times and added three assists in his first full season with Borussia Dortmund. He had six goals and five helpers in 46 games across all competitions for the Bundesliga power.

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"Hi Christian Pulisic here," he said in a video posted to his social media accounts. "I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for me to win U.S. Male Player of the Year."

"It's something that I never could have imagined, to be here in this position. Yeah, I'm just really thankful for everyone who supported me along the way and I'm excited for the future."

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Jozy Altidore won the award in 2013 and 2016. Michael Bradley won in 2015. Tim Howard is a two-time winner. Clint Dempsey is a three-time winner. Donovan won the award four times.

Tobin Heath won the Female Player of the Year award in 2016. Abby Wambach has won the award six times, while Mia Hamm won it five consecutive times from 1994 to 1998.

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"Receiving a comprehensive 94 percent of the tabulated votes, Pulisic turned in a remarkable performance for the MNT in 2017," a release for U.S. Soccer said. "The MNT's biggest offensive contributor during the year, the 19-year-old recorded six goals and four assists in nine matches, but either directly [goal or assist] or indirectly [earning a free kick, rebound on a shot], was involved in 13 of the 17 goals scored during matches in which he played this year."


"On the club front, Pulisic ended his first full season with the Borussia Dortmund first team by recording three goals and three assists in 25 matches across all competitions for the Bundesliga runners-up. Along with featuring for BVB in the UEFA Champions League, Pulisic topped the 2016-17 campaign by earning the game-winning penalty kick in Dortmund's 2-1 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt in the DFB-Pokal Final on May 27. Pulisic has continued to be one of Dortmund's most influential players this season."

"Pulisic becomes the 24th different player to be named U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year since it was first awarded to midfielder Rick Davis in 1984."

Borussia Dortmund faces Hoffenheim at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in a Bundesliga showdown at Westfalenstadion in Dortmund, Germany.

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