McKennie named U.S. male player of the year

United States Men’s National Team midfielder Weston McKennie capped a reaffirming 2020 on Friday, when he was named male player of the year by the United States Soccer Federation.
In August, the 22-year-old was acquired on loan by Italy’s Serie A powerhouse Juventus from his club in Germany, Schalke 04. He has played in the German Bundesliga since 2017 and has made 29 appearances for Schalke and Juventus in 2020, scoring four goals.

McKennie made his Juventus debut on Sept. 20 in a Serie A contest and then made his Champions League debut Oct. 20 after coming on as a substitute against Barcelona on Oct. 20.

He scored his first goal for the storied club on Nov. 1 against Spezia. He also scored in a second Champions League meeting against Barcelona on Dec. 8, in a 3-0 victory where teammate Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot.

Since 2017, McKennie has played in 21 games for the USMNT, scoring six goals.

“I want to thank everyone for this huge honor. It’s been a journey, especially through these difficult times during the pandemic,” McKennie said in a release. “Our fans have stuck with us throughout and we really appreciate it. Hopefully in 2021 we can have many more memories together.”

Among the six finalists for the top U.S. yearly men’s honor, McKennie received 44 percent of the vote. Christian Pulisic, who plays for Chelsea in England, received 27 percent of the vote, while Sergino Dest, who plays for Barcelona, had 14 percent.

McKennie, a Texas native, becomes the fourth youngest player to receive the award. Pulisic was 19 when he won it the first time in 2017.

Voting was conducted among executives across the soccer landscape, as well as head coaches for MLS, the USL and the USMNT. Media, former players and administrators also participated in the voting.

The award has been handed out every year since 1984 with Landon Donovan winning it four times.

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