Weston Mckennie Wins 2020 US Male Player of the Year
On December 18th, 22 year old Weston Mckennie won the 2020 US male player of the year after being a finalist for the past 3 years. In 2020 he joined Juventus on Loan from Schalke 04 where he has scored 2 goals, and had 2 assists in his first year for Juventus. He has managed to institute himself as a key player in the Juventus squad which is full of talented players.
Mckennie was one of 6 finalists for the award, where he faced off against 2 time winner Christian Pulisic and new Barcelona prospect Sergiño Dest. He won a convincing 44% of the vote followed by Pulisic with 27% and Dest with 14%.
Apart from winning this award, Mckennie and Pulisic are helping change the perception of American soccer players in Europe. The American game has struggled for a long time with credibility in Europe, as at the club level very few American players managed to play at the top level. On the international level, after the USMNT failed to qualify for the 2018 world cup, many of their youth players sought to play internationally to help gain the team's respect back for the 2022 world cup. Many fans consider this team as the golden team similar to Belgium in the 2018 world cup. Although this is a stretch for their potential, they are most likely to make it past the knockout rounds in future tournaments.
Pulisic led the way for many of these young American talents to find their way to European’s top clubs. After his 73 million dollar move to Chelsea in 2019, he gained international respect and became the face of the USMNT. Following his path, Dortmund youngster Gio Reyna has become a key member of the senior team. Reyna at only age 18 won the 2020 US young male player of the year following an impressive 2020 campaign. In many ways players such as Reyna, Adams and Mckennie were given a path to european success thanks to Pulisic.
Many of the future youth talent are considering moving abroad to play in Europe after seeing recent success. Players such as Caden Clark at age 17 who has been making headlines at the New York Red Bulls, have been rumored to already join teams in the Bundesliga and Serie A. With the MLS having strong youth clubs, constantly creating new talents, there are likely to be more US talents such as Clark becoming prime youth prospects.