CHICAGO – Four winners for U.S. Soccer’s new end-of-year awards in disability soccer, beach soccer and futsal were announced on Friday.
The ADAPTandTHRIVE Disability Award recognizes an individual making an impact in the United States’ broad landscape of disability soccer, while the Beach Soccer and Futsal Player of the Year Awards honor players from U.S. Soccer’s Extended National Teams excelling at other versions of the sport on the sand and court.
Sandy Castillo became the first recipient of the ADAPTandTHRIVE Disability Award. She is a long-time coach and advocate for U.S. Youth Soccer TOPSoccer (The Outreach Program for Soccer), a community-based training program for athletes with intellectual, emotional and/or physical disabilities to play the game in a safe, fun and supportive environment. Based in Southern California, she has coached youth soccer since 1985 and with TOPSoccer since 1991.
The Beach Female Player of the Year was Ali Hall. The nascent U.S. Women’s Beach Soccer national team played in this summer’s Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup, its second global competition. Hall started all three matches. The forward bagged a brace against Brazil to give the U.S. an early 2-0 lead in its second game of the tournament.
Nicolas Perea was named Beach Male Player of the Year after significant contributions to the U.S. Men’s Beach Soccer national team’s runner-up finish at the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship and appearance at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. The defender played 11-a-side soccer professionally before making his international beach soccer debut this year at World Cup qualifying, and contributed seven goals for the Beach USMNT (three in qualifying and four at the World Cup). This year marked the USA’s first consecutive Beach Soccer World Cup appearances since 2006-2007 and Perea was one of two U.S. players to score in all three World Cup matches. He also netted the USA’s first goals at both qualifying in Costa Rica and the World Cup in Russia.
After a three-year layoff, the Futsal National Team returned to official international competition this year and qualified for its first Futsal World Cup since 2008. Captain and goalkeeper Diego Moretti was selected U.S. Soccer’s first Futsal Player of the Year. The veteran backstopped the USA throughout its cycle after a 16-year professional career in Italy. The 38-year-old Moretti recently signed with Manfredonia in the Italian Serie A and was a vital part of the USA’s runner-up finish at the Concacaf Futsal Championship, shutting out the Dominican Republic in the quarterfinals to clinch a World Cup berth and helping the U.S. win a penalty kick shootout in the semis.