Monday, March 12, 2007

YA of the Year?

There's no such award. Which is a shame, because Brian McBride would be a lock this season. I've been thinking though, if it did exist, who would've won in previous years? What follows is my picks for each year of this decade.

I'm interested in what you guys think of them, and also what about the earlier years? I imagine Eric Wynalda, John Harkes, and Earnie Stewart would win a few in the 1990s.

2005/6-Kasey Keller, Mochengladbach

Sure, Bobby Convey had an excellent season with Reading. But they were playing in the second division against teams like Stoke. Oguchi Onyewu, Brad Friedel, and Steve Cherundolo all had good seasons as well. This was probably the closest of the years I'm looking at. I really don't watch European games outside of England, so this is based on what I've read.

2004/5-DaMarcus Beasley, PSV

An obvious choice. He came in from Chicago, and ended up playing in the Champions League semifinals versus AC Milan. Scored double digits in goals, as well. Too bad he hasn't matched that success since. Also, too bad for us that the World Cup was a year later.

2003/4-Tim Howard, Man Utd

PFA's top keeper in the Premiership, and started in the FA Cup final. The seeds of his downfall as a starter for the Red Devils were planted by the season's end, but he played very well coming out of nowhere. I still remember seeing the ridiculous and offensive English tabloid stories when he joined them, talking about Tourette's. The Charity Shield shut them up, and it was good from there. Only now in his fourth season is he having a second good year, so hopefully Beasley can equal that next year.

2002/3-Brad Friedel, Blackburn

Coming off the World Cup, Friedel was in sensational form. Like Howard a year later, he also was named to the PFA Best XI. So including Howard and Beasley, there were three years in a row of slam dunk, obvious choices.

2001/2-John O'Brien, Ajax

Make that four? His best season by far, as the team did the double and he was healthy the whole time. According to the link, he played all over the field. He spend the most time at left fullback, though. Which reminds me, if you weren't a US soccer fan five years ago, then you don't remember how people constantly talked about playing O'Brien at LB and Reyna at RB, where they both frequently played for their clubs.

2000/1-Earnie Stewart, NAC Breda

This was probably the pick I'm least sure about. I know Stewart scored eight goals that year in the Eredivisie, including one 30 seconds into a match against Feyenoord to beat them 1-0. Any other suggestions?

1999/0-Claudio Reyna, Rangers

Another championship season, following a $3.5 million transfer from Wolfsburg in Germany. This was just when I was becoming a soccer fan, so my memory isn't great. But Rangers played in the Champions League, and also Reyna was named the Player of the Month right after he joined. Keller was also doing good around this time with Rayo Vallecano. Also, Joe-Max Moore scored a few right after joining Everton.

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