For their excellence at the highest levels of the sport, U.S. Soccer announced U.S. Men’s National Team forward Clint Dempsey as the 2012 Male Athlete of the Year, Rubio Rubin as the 2012 Young Male Athlete of the Year and Felicia Schroeder as the 2012 Disabled Athlete of the Year.
• Watch ussoccer.com’s highlight video of 2012 Male Athlete of the Year Clint Dempsey
• Read a ussoccer.com Q & A with Dempsey
The U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award is the highest honor awarded to soccer players in the United States. Online votes registered on U.S. Soccer’s Facebook Page counted for 50 percent of the total votes, while the other 50 percent was represented by votes 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.
The Male Athlete of the Year honor is the third for Dempsey, who previously won in 2007 and 2011. Dempsey becomes the second three-time winner of the award, with goalkeeper Kasey Keller also winning three times (1997, 1999, 2005). Landon Donovan, a four-time winner (2003, 2004, 2009, 2010), is the only player to have won more. Donovan and Dempsey are the only players to have won the award on back-to-back occasions.
Dempsey led U.S. scorers in 2012 with six goals, including five in the Semifinal Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. The forward was also a big part of the USA’s memorable win against Italy on Feb. 29, tallying the lone goal in the 1-0 victory in Genoa. He now has 30 goals in his career, tied with Brian McBride for third all-time. In England, Dempsey concluded his career at Fulham as the team’s all-time leading scorer in the Premier League before moving to Tottenham in August in one of the highest-profile deals ever for an American abroad.
U-17 MNT midfielder Rubin took home the Young Male Athlete of the Year award after he finished among the team’s leading goalscorers with eight goals. His commitment, one-on-one skills, willingness to defend and positive approach to the game help him stand out as a key player for the U-17s as they look toward the U-17 CONCACAF Championship and hopefully a World Cup berth in 2013. A player can only win the Young Athlete award once in his or her career.
Schroeder was named Disabled Athlete of the Year in the first year for the award after helping the USA to a gold medal at the World Deaf Football Championships in July, scoring four goals during the tournament in Turkey. She also plays professionally with Kvarnsveden in the Sweden First Division.
Nominees for Female and Young Female Athletes of the Year will be announced next Monday, Nov. 26.