Matt Miazga has been named U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year for 2015. It was an easy decision for the voters, who never had another player in serious contention to choose.
Nobody expected Miazga to be the runaway choice at the beginning of 2015. While he was undoubtedly a very talented player, there were questions about whether he would start for the New York Red Bulls and if he would hold onto a starting spot for the U-20 World Cup. But by the summer, Miazga had established himself as the best centerback on a very good Red Bulls team that would go onto win the Supporters' Shield and the heart of the defense for the United States' U-20 and U-23 teams.
Come fall, Miazga was the jewel of the U.S. youth system. He had gone from accomplished teenager to very much proven 20-year-old, and not just at the youth level. He was proven as a professional against adults in MLS. Then in November, he got his first call up to the senior national team, making his debut in a World Cup qualifier against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Now Miazga is set for a monster 2016. He will anchor the U.S. backline as it attempts to qualify for the Olympics and should continue to be part of the senior national team. On top of that, he is angling for a move away from the Red Bulls, with several teams in the Premier League reportedly interested.
It was a good year for Miazga, and he was an obvious choice for U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year. And next year should be even better.