Ricardo Pepi has won two young player of the year awards. (© Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK)
FC Dallas Homegrown and U.S. men’s national team forward Ricardo Pepi was voted U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year after an impressive breakout year for club and country.
Pepi earned his second Young Player of the Year award after being named MLS Young Player of the Year on Nov. 18.
At 18-years-old, Pepi turned in one of the most memorable USMNT debuts in recent memory during September World Cup qualifying, sparking a comeback win in the San Pedro Sula against Honduras in the final match of the window. In the second half, “El Tren” set up the game-tying goal, scored the game-winner, added another assist, and took a hard shot to set up a fourth and final tally for the 4-1 win and a three points.
Pepi continued his hot streak in the October international window, bagging a brace in the USA’s 2-0 win over Jamaica in Austin, Tesas. The El Paso, Texas native has played in every qualifier since his U.S. debut. He has three goals and three assists in six World Cup qualifying appearances this year.
The forward also took the next step at the club level, finishing the MLS season as the league’s leading American scorer with 13 goals. He also became the youngest player in MLS history to net a hat-trick, accomplishing the feat on July 24 against LA Galaxy.
Pepi was selected to the MLS All-Star Game, scoring the game-winning penalty in a shootout against the Liga MX All-Stars. After mostly serving as a super-sub in 2020, he made a career-high 24 starts in 31 appearances for Dallas this season, solidifying himself as the club’s first-choice scoring threat.
For the first time, fans were able to vote for the U.S. Soccer Player and Young Player of the Year Awards, with those votes weighted at 15 percent of the total. Pepi earned 60 percent of the overall vote for Young Male Player of the Year. Midfielder Yunus Musah was second (23 percent) and Gianluca Busio was third (11 percent).
Votes for U.S. Soccer Male and Young Male Player of the Year Awards are collected from respective National Team coaches, National Team players who have earned a cap in 2021, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, professional league (MLS and USL) head coaches, select media members and former players and administrators.
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