By Alex Baker
Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Bobby Wood, Michael Bradley and Geoff Cameron were announced as contenders for 2016 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year. The five-man shortlist for the award was released on Tuesday with the winner to be announced on Friday.
Dempsey, the most experienced player on the list has won the honor three times previously, including back-to-back wins in 2011 and 2012. However, his inclusion came as perhaps something of a surprise with the former Fulham and Tottenham forward having been sidelined by an irregular heartbeat since August.
Toronto FC’s Altidore, who won the honor in 2013, will face Dempsey’s Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup Final on Saturday. Altidore is currently in the midst of one of the best seasons of his club career and also managed six goals and two assists for the USMNT this year.
Altidore’s TFC teammate Michael Bradley was also included on the list after another standout season with Toronto and a strong campaign in midfield for the U.S.A. during this summer’s Copa America.
The first of two non-MLS players on the shortlist, Bobby Wood has managed four goals in all competitions for Bundesliga side Hamburg as well as four goals and two assists for the national team.
Geoff Cameron has been a regular starter with Stoke City in the English Premier League and had a standout campaign in the center of the U.S. defense during last summer’s Copa America Centenario.
The shortlist for Young Male Player of the Year was also released with strikers Andrew Carleton (Charleston Battery), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), along with midfielders Josh Sargent (US U17), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund), and defender Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur) making the list.
Nominees for Female Player of the Year include forwards Crystal Dunn and Alex Morgan, midfielders Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath, and defender Becky Sauerbrunn. Young Female nominees include Emily Ogle, Andi Sullivan, Kaleigh Riehl, Karina Rodriguez and Ashley Sanchez.
The winners of the Male POTY and Young Male POTY will be announced Friday on the MLS Cup preview show which will be aired on FS1. The winners of the Female and Young Female POTY will be announced on the Sunday evening edition of ESPN FC.