Dec. 26, 2005
Former UCLA walk-on Benny Feilhaber was awarded the 2005 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year after he parlayed a star-turning performance at the World Youth Championships into a pro contract at Hamburg SV and a call-up to the U.S. Men's National Team.
Coming into the youth national team picture just one year ago, Feilhaber, 20, made one of the quickest jumps from being a relative unknown to receiving a call from Bruce Arena for a friendly against Scotland in November.
Feilhaber joined the Under-20 Men's National Team one month before qualifying for the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship and beat out some young professionals to start in the midfield and subsequently wowed with his dynamic play. He helped the U.S. win their group, which included Argentina, Germany and Egypt.
Feilhaber is the first UCLA player to win the Young Male Athlete of the Year Award. Past winners include Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Freddy Adu and Eddie Johnson.
Women's National Team defender Lori Chalupny was honored as the Young Female Athlete of the Year, and Kasey Keller and Kristine Lilly were chosen as the Male and Female Athlete of the Year.
Online votes registered at ussoccer.com were tallied and equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes, while the other 50 percent was represented by votes compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from National Team coaches to the National Board of Directors). A player can only win the Young Athlete award once in their career.