After a season of high-flying performances, TopDrawerSoccer.com is pleased to award the Player of the Year Award presented by IMG to Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado) and Isaiah Young (Players Development Academy).
The annual award honors the two best and brightest boys and girls amateur club players in the country based off their body of work over the previous season in addition to their assessed ability by our panel of judges. That includes not only club performance but also any relevant national team duty. Pugh and Young are the first recipients after the award was established earlier this year.
To be considered, a player must be eligible for a U.S. youth national team, and they must be college eligible and have retained their amateur status at the time the award is given. Players who’ve signed professional contracts or have already begun their college careers by the July 31 deadline are not eligible for consideration.
On the girls side, Pugh’s year was perhaps unequaled in girls soccer history. While moonlighting for the Real Colorado club she’s played on for years in the ECNL, Pugh started the fall with the U.S. U20 Women’s National Team on the national level. In January, she scored in her first cap for the full U.S. Women’s National Team at the age of 17, and in April she became the youngest American in history to play in an Olympic qualifying match.
Pugh, one of the most decorated girls soccer players of all time, will arrive at UCLA in January after completing work with the full national team at the Rio Olympics and then at the U20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
On the boys side, Young’s year only seemed to get better as it went. For club, Young played 30 matches for the well-regarded PDA U18 setup in the Development Academy. He scored 15 goals as the team’s primary threat at forward and earned the year-end U18 Player of the Year honor from U.S. Soccer out of the East Conference. For country, Young firmly established himself as a national team player to watch with a handful of massive performances for the U19 Men’s National Team. That put Young in firm contention to earn a roster spot at the 2017 U20 World Cup.
The award, which aims to become the most prestigious yearly honorific for amateur youth players with U.S. ties, will honor one top girl and boy player at the conclusion of each season. Announced each August following a July 31 cutoff, the award takes into account the player’s body of work over the previous season and will be picked by an internal panel of judges.
The award is bestowed annually and seeks to reward two top up-and-coming youth players in the country by identifying and celebrating their accomplishments over the previous season. TopDrawerSoccer.com and IMG Academy, two of the world’s leading advocates for U.S. youth soccer, are partnering in the endeavor and will hand out the award jointly each year.