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Tobin Heath named USSF player of the year, Ashley Sanchez young poty

2016 was a very good year for Tobin Heath, who displayed maturity in her game and her leadership.

Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Romania at USA Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

US Soccer has announced that Tobin Heath is their WNT player of the year in 2016.

Ashley Sanchez won female young player of the year.

Sanchez might have had a rough time with the U20’s at their World Cup this year, but she was often the only bright spot on the field helping to back up Mallory Pugh, who won the award last year and is thus ineligible to win in 2016.

The five nominees for WNT POTY were:

Crystal Dunn
Tobin Heath
Carli Lloyd
Alex Morgan
Becky Sauerbrunn

The nominees for young POTY were:

Emily Ogle
Kaleigh Riehl
Karina Rodriguez
Ashley Sanchez
Andi Sullivan

As we’ve previously discussed, USSF got their senior WNT nominations right for once, with plenty of arguments in the pro column for any one of these players. According to USSF’s press release, Heath earned 40% of the vote, followed by Crystal Dunn with 34%.

Heath certainly had plenty of reasons to earn votes in 2016. She had 20 starts in 22 games for the WNT and came up with six goals and eight assists. This also seems to be a year when Heath really came into her own, stepping up all over the pitch for the Portland Thorns both as a playmaker/midfield engine and as a leader. So much discussion of Heath in past years has revolved around potential; this year was all that potential fully realized.

Voting is done by NT coaches; NT players who earned a cap in 2016; MLS, NASL, and NWSL coaches; select media members; and former players and administrators.