From Press Services
Chicago (January 19, 2012) The 2011
Best of U.S. Soccer Awards has concluded with winners in 11 categories, including
Best Goal, Best Assist and Best Performances. The tenth annual installment
of the Best of U.S. Soccer Awards was decided entirely by fan ballots cast
from Dec. 23 to Jan. 13 on U.S. Soccer's Facebook page.
After the U.S. Women's National Team's impressive run
in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, it was no surprise that the WNT captured
the majority of 2011's Best of U.S. Soccer votes.
With the 2011 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards now concluded,
U.S. Soccer will announce the winners for the 2011 Athlete of the Year Awards
on Friday, Jan. 20. The four awards include Male, Female, Young Male and
Young Female Athletes of the Year.
The U.S. Women claimed a resounding seven of the 11
awards, with four of them - Best Assist, Best Goal, Best Performance: Team
and Best Performance: Player - revolving around the dramatic quarterfinal
win against Brazil in which a last-gasp U.S. goal sent the game into overtime
and a penalty shootout.
Megan Rapinoe earned Best Assist for her cross that
found Abby Wambach's head in the last seconds of overtime against Brazil.
Wambach's 122 nd-minute header was the latest goal in Women's World Cup history
and was recognized as Best Goal with 63 percent of the votes. Rapinoe's assist
garnered 80 percent of the votes in that category.
The USA's incredible win against Brazil earned 82 percent
of the votes - the largest margin of victory in any category - to win Best
Performance: Team. After Rachel Buehler was sent off in the 65th minute,
the U.S. rallied for more than 55 minutes with 10 players to come from behind
and equalize in the final seconds of overtime stoppage time. The U.S. converted
all five of its shots in the resulting penalty kick shootout, and Hope Solo
saved a Brazil penalty for a U.S. win of 5-3.
Solo won Best Performance: Player for her crucial role
against Brazil, a game in which she was also named Bud Light Woman of the
Match. The goalkeeper saved a Cristiane penalty in the second half of regular
time before Marta converted the retake to equalize, and Solo also saved Daiane's
penalty in the shootout. She garnered 39 percent of the votes. Solo also
claimed the Best Off the Field Moment with her run on Dancing With the Stars.
Along with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the U.S.'s No. 1 reached the semifinals on
the ABC show.
Solo nearly had a hand in the Best Fan Tribute win, but
U.S. MNT and Sporting Kansas City player C.J. Sapong's rap serenade to the
goalkeeper came in second place with 25 percent of the votes. Three Washington,
D.C.-area high school students called the D.C. Squirrels won the category
with their "Teach Me How to Wambach" video. Rounding out the top three is
Gabby Helmus, who earned 17 percent of the votes for her Women's World Cup
Best Goal Celebration was the most closely contested
category, with only one percentage point separating first place from second
and three points between second and third. U.S. Soccer fans voted the Women's
military tribute as the Best Goal Celebration. The Women lined up to salute
the troops in Germany after Heather O'Reilly scored against Colombia in World
Cup play. Second and third place in the category went to the U.S. Women's
celebration when they defeated Brazil in the penalty shootout and Megan Rapinoe's
rendition of "Born in the USA" after she scored her first World Cup goal
New York Red Bulls Academy alumnus Juan Agudelo was voted
the Best Performance: Academy thanks to his 14 Men's National Team appearances
and his six goals in 28 games for the Red Bulls' full team.
Fans went to Official U.S. Soccer bars in 2011 because
they were the best spots to follow the U.S. National Teams, and several of
them also hosted exclusive bar events featuring the Men's and Women's players.
O'Brien's Pub in San Diego, Calif., garnered 25 percent of the votes for
the honor of Best Soccer Bar. Kells Irish Pub in Portland, Ore., which hosted
Rapinoe and Lori Lindsey for a U.S. Soccer event in September, took home
second place. Nevada Smiths in New York tied Kells on six percent of the
votes to round out the top three.
Best Twitter featured Men's and Women's players as well
as journalists and official U.S. Soccer accounts. Rapinoe (@mPinoe) took
the top spot with a third of the votes, while teammate Ali Krieger
(@alexbkrieger) came in a close second. The U.S. WNT's official account
(@ussoccer_wnt) came in third.
The Best Studio 90 Feature went to Wild Turkey, in which
Lindsey and Rapinoe demonstrated their signature handshake. The two women
also took second place with their Roomies 4 Life feature, taking a combined
total of 83 percent of the votes.
As the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind,
U.S. Soccer's Athlete of the Year Awards date back to 1984 for the men and
1985 for the women. As in years past, online votes for the annual award were
tallied and counted for 50 percent of the total, while the remaining 50 percent
was compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives,
including national team coaches and members of the U.S. Soccer Board of
Directors. U.S. Soccer will announce those winners on Jan. 20.