The nominees are in for U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year and, to the surprise of no one, DeAndre Yedlin made the cut. The 21-year-old continued his strong play for the Seattle Sounders in his second season, made the World Cup team and played well in Brazil, then earned a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur, making him the runaway favorite to win the award.
If Yedlin doesn't win Young Male Athlete of the Year, they might as well cancel the award. He has been marvelous and to have accomplished as much as he has at 21 years old doesn't just make him the cleat cut choice for this, but puts him int he discussion for one of the best young players the U.S. has ever had.
The rest of the nominees are Mukwelle Akale, Emerson Hyndman, Christian Pulisic and Haji Wright. All of them are excellent young prospects, but only Hyndman is part of his club's senior team and none can hold a candle to Yedlin.
Akale won MVP at the Copa del Atlantico and International Tournament of Vaclav Jezek, making him not just the best American for the U.S. U-18s there, but the best in the entire competition. The 17-year-old has trained with Villarreal, who were reportedly very impressed with him, but he cannot sign with them until he turns 18 in January.
Hyndman has established himself in the Fulham senior team and has played well for them in the Championship. The grandson of former FC Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman, Emerson has long been one of the most promising young Americans and he was one of the crown jewels of Fulham's highly rated academy. Now he's made the jump to the senior team and, this season, also got his first cap for the U.S. senior team.
Pulisic is a very technical and creative player who is considered the best prospect on the U-17 national team. He has 12 goals and six assists for the U-17s this year, and there is still one tournament left to play. That level of play has led Croatia to try to pry him away from the U.S., but right now Pulisic is remaining with the country of his birth,
Wright also plays on the U-17 team and he led them in scoring with 15 goals in 16 matches this season to go along with five assists. He doesn't have a club yet, but he has already made the jump to the U.S. U-18s and, as an academy product, could sign with the Galaxy.
Congratulations to all of the players on their fantastic years, and to Yedlin on winning it.