Ricardo Pepi  Scores in USMNT Debut

FRISCO, Texas (Dec. 18, 2021) – FC Dallas Homegrown and USMNT forward Ricardo Pepi was voted Chipotle U.S. Soccer Young Male Player of the Year after a massive breakout year for the USMNT during the start of its World Cup qualifying campaign this fall and at the club level with FC Dallas. Pepi earns his second Young Player of the Year award after being named MLS Young Player of the Year on Nov. 18, 2021.

At just 18 years old, Pepi turned in one of the most memorable USMNT debuts in recent memory during September World Cup qualifying, catalyzing a comeback win in the hostile environs of San Pedro Sula against Honduras in the final match of the window. In the second half, “El Tren” teed up the game-tying goal, scored the game-winner, added another assist, and took a hard shot to set up a fourth and final tally for the 4-1 win and a crucial three points. 

Pepi continued his hot streak in the October international window, bagging a brace in the USA’s 2-0 win against Jamaica in Austin. The El Paso, Texas, native has played in every qualifier since his U.S. debut. He has three goals and three assists in six World Cup qualifying appearances this year. 

The forward also took the next step at the club level, finishing the MLS season as the league’s leading American scorer with 13 goals. He also became the youngest player in MLS history to net a hat trick, accomplishing the feat on July 24 against LA Galaxy. 

Pepi was selected to this summer’s MLS All-Star Game, scoring the game-winning penalty in a shootout against the Liga MX All-Stars. After mostly serving as a super-sub in 2020, he made a career-high 24 starts in 31 appearances for FCD this season, solidifying himself as the club’s first-choice scoring threat. 

For the first time, fans were able to vote for the U.S. Soccer Player and Young Player of the Year Awards, with those votes weighted at 15 percent of the total. Pepi earned 60 percent of the overall vote for Young Male Player of the Year. Midfielder Yunus Musah was second (23 percent) and Gianluca Busio was third (11 percent). 

Votes for U.S. Soccer Male and Young Male Player of the Year Awards are collected from respective National Team coaches, National Team players who have earned a cap in 2021, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, professional league (MLS and USL) head coaches, select media members and former players and administrators.

PREVIOUS WINNERS Year

2021 Ricardo Pepi

2020 Gio Reyna

2019 Sergiño Dest

2018 Alex Mendez

2017 Josh Sargent

2016 Christian Pulisic

2015 Matt Miazga

2014DeAndre Yedlin

2013 Wil Trapp

2012 Rubio Rubin

2011 Brek Shea

2010 Gale Agbossoumonde

2009 Luis Gil

2008 Sacha Kljestan

2007 Michael Bradley 

2006 Jozy Altidore

2005 Benny Feilhaber

2004 Eddie Johnson

2003 Freddy Adu

2002 Bobby Convey

2001 DaMarcus Beasley

2000 Landon Donovan

1999 Ben Olsen

1998 Josh Wolff