On Tuesday, December 13th, US Soccer announced the Player of the Year awards for the women athletes. The nominees for the young female players consisted of forward Ashley Sanchez, midfielders Emily Ogle, and Andi Sullivan, along with defenders Kaleigh Riehl and Karina Rodriguez. The five USWNT Player of the Year nominees were forwards Crystal Dunn and Alex Morgan, midfielders Tobin Heath and Carli Lloyd, and defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
Young Female Player Award
Among the four other players that were nominated for this award, forward Ashley Sanchez was presented with the Player of the Year title for the young female player. Midfielder Andi Sullivan was second in the running for the award after votes that came from MLS, NASL, and NWSL coaches, national team players who have made an appearance within this season, as well as administrators and media members.
Sanchez, the 17-year-old forward is the captain of the U-17 team and is even the youngest player on the U-20 roster. As a forward and midfielder, she is the first US player to score at a FIFA U-17 and U-20 World Cup within the same year.
In discussing her gratitude about this award, Sanchez expressed:
"It was a memorable year for sure, and even though we fell short at both World Cups, I know the experiences that me and my teammates had will last a lifetime. It’s a huge honor to win this award and I’m really appreciative of everyone who voted for me. I also want to thank all of my teammates and coaches on the U-17s and the U-20s. They are great players and great friends and hopefully, a bunch of us will reach our goals of playing for the full team one day.” - Ashley Sanchez
She is also excited to be attending UCLA in the fall of 2017. With her experience with the U-17 team, she has made 21 appearances and has scored 21 goals as well. At the 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship, she achieved the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament, which took place in Grenda, a Caribbean country.
And the award goes to...
The 28-year-old midfielder Tobin Heath was awarded the Player of the Year Award from US Soccer on the National level. This past season she has made 22 appearances as she has scored six goals with eight assists. Within her time of playing for the National team, she has played in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Olympic games and even played a significant aspect in the 2011 and 2015 Women's World Cup.
As a player for the NWSL team Portland Thorns, Heath has 14 caps with the team this past season and has continued to ten assists within that time. Since joining the national team in 2008, Heath has improved in her skill and is consistently striving to succeed for more. With this past season, she has continued to persevere and in doing so, it has allowed for her to become a stronger player to reach her goals.
In being awarded by US Soccer, she expressed her excitement:
"It’s obviously an honor to win an award like this, especially when you look at the list of amazing players who have won it before. This year was a difficult one for our team, but overall we played some great soccer so it’s humbling to be recognized individually. I’m just proud to be in the company of all the great players that were nominated and all of the players that played for the USA this year. I couldn’t have accomplished anything without the support of my teammates and my coaches, and while it was a fun year for me personally, I’m excited not only about my own future, but also the future of this team as I know we have a lot more room to grow and many more goals to achieve.” - Tobin Heath
Upcoming US season
With the Women's upcoming season, these players among the nominees have time to be able to regroup and train to become stronger and more united in their plays and communication skills that contribute to the team. Be sure to stay tuned for their upcoming schedule from US Soccer that will release soon as they prepare for the 2017 season