US Soccer has announced the nominees for Male and Female Young Player of the Year and four players with local connections are up for the two awards.
On the men’s side, FC Dallas’ Ricardo Pepi and Paxton Pomykal were nominated along with Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards. On the women’s side, Solar SC’s Trinity Byars was among the five nominations.
Gianluca Busio, Sergiño Dest, and Gio Reyna were the other men’s nominees. Naomi Grima, Brianna Pinto, Casey Murphy, and Allyson Sentnor were the other nominations.
Pomykal was arguably the best player in the US U20 side in the 2019 FIFA World Cup in Poland. He parlayed that performance and his 2019 breakout with FC Dallas into a senior US cap. Pomykal is expected to be a big part of the US Olympic Qualifying efforts in 2020.
Pepi was a big part of the US efforts in the U17 Concacaf Championship and the U17 World Cup. His breakout performance with North Texas SC earned him a Homegrown FC Dallas contract as well.
Richards went from the FCD Academy to a pro contract with FC Dallas and then a transfer to Bayern Munich without ever playing an MLS game for FCD. Richards U20 World Cup performance attracted a lot of attention and a spot on the U20 10 Players to Watch list.
Byars – who had a terrific run for the US U17s this year – scored 31 goals to lead Solar to the 2018-19 U17 DA National Championship. Byars has scored 14 goals through 6 games in the current DA season.