Toronto FC captain, midfielder, and Designated Player Michael Bradley has won the U.S. Men's National Team Player of the Year award for the first time in his international career.
2015 has proven a significant year for the American after winning the captain's armband in the wake of Clint Dempsey's Gold Cup 3-game suspension.
While the USMNT has been seen as struggling of late, Bradley has been a source of consistency on the squad, deserving of the leadership position. Bradley, along with scintillating play by some of the USA's younger players like Bobby Wood, helped lead the USMNT past some of the world's biggest opponents in World Cup-champions Germany and the Netherlands, albeit in international friendlies, in 2015.
The big year for Bradley remained consistent in his club play, as he also donned the captain's armband for Toronto FC this season in a handoff from Scottish defender Steven Caldwell. Bradley was also integral to bringing Toronto FC to their very first playoff appearance since the team joined MLS in 2006.
Given the year of accolades and successes, it's not difficult to agree with the decision from U.S. Soccer, though the news arrives at an awkward time for USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann. It is widely speculated that Klinsmann's job may be under more intense scrutiny these days given the USA's poor run of form in CONCACAF, tournament, and international friendly play.
To select the Player of the Year, U.S Soccer is dependent upon both online voting from the American public as well as voting from representatives in the organization itself and the media at large. Both the public online ballots and selected representative ballots each account for 50% apiece of the total vote.
Legendary Goalkeeper Tim Howard won the award in 2014, preceded by Bradley's now-fellow Toronto FC comrade, Jozy Altidore, in 2013. Recent US sensations Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey have won the award 4 and 3 times, respectively.