Dec. 20, 2007
LOS ANGELES - UCLA women's soccer player Lauren Cheney picked up two very prestigious honors on Thursday, as the sophomore forward was named Soccer America's National Player of the Year, and U.S. Soccer's Young Female Athlete of the Year.
Cheney, from Indianapolis, Ind., led UCLA to its fifth straight NCAA College Cup in 2007. She ended the season ranked second nationally in points per game (2.48) and third nationally in goals per game (1.0). The 2007 Pac-10 Player of the Year, Cheney led the conference in points (57), goals (23) and game-winning goals (9). She also ranked second overall in assists with 11. Her 57 points and 23 goals on the year were both single-season school records.
Cheney, who was recently named a first-team NSCAA/adidas All-American for the second year in a row, is one of three finalists for the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy, given annually to the player of the year in college soccer. She is also one of four candidates for the Honda Award, another national player of the year honor.
On the national team level, Cheney split her time during the year, helping lead the Under-20s in the Pan American Games, while also getting her first caps with the full WNT in 2007. After kicking off the year training with the full U.S. Women's National Team during Residency Training Camp, the powerful striker eventually made her first-ever start against Germany at the Four Nations Tournament in China, and then a few months later scored her first-ever senior team goal against Mexico on April 14. Later in the year, Cheney led the Under-20s to the finals of the Pan American Games with six goals, including both strikes in a stunning 2-1 upset in the semifinals against Canada's full team.
"I'm always humbled to win an individual award because I feel the team accomplishments are much more important and satisfying," said Cheney in reference to the U.S. Soccer award. "That said, I'm grateful to the people who voted for me and I'm really honored to join a group of young players who I've looked up to for the past few years. They have accomplished some great things at the full National Team level and I'm looking forward to working hard to contribute to the success of the National Team in 2008."