Ricardo Pepi voted MLS Young Player of the Year

The players, front offices, and media of Major League Soccer have voted FC Dallas Ricardo Pepi the 2021 MLS Young Player of the Year.

Pepi led FC Dallas with 13 goals and 3 assists this season. highlights included his first MLS hat trick at 18 years and 196 days old, the youngest player to score a hat trick in FC Dallas and MLS history, as well as a pair of braces, against New England Revolution on June 27 and rivals Austin FC on Aug. 29.

Pepi’s 13 goals this season ties the all-time single-season MLS record for most goals scored by a teenager as he became only the second teenager to score 10 or more goals in a single season.


Diego Fagundez13NE2013
Ricardo Pepi13DAL2021
Jozy Altidore9NYR2007

EL Tren earned two MLS Player of the Week honors and was named to the 2021 MLS All-Star team, in which he scored the game-winning penalty kick, clinching an MLS All-Stars victory over the LIGA MX All-Stars, 3-2 on penalties.

Pepi also earned multiple call-ups to the U.S. Men’s National Team for the Concacaf World Cup Qualifying, notching the go-ahead goal and adding 2 assists against Honduras on Sept. 8 in his debut. Pepi added a brace against Jamaica on Oct. 7. He became the second-youngest U.S. Men’s National Team player to score in a World Cup Qualifier and the second youngest player to make his senior team debut behind Christian Pulisic.

Pepi USA
Ricardo Pepi USA. (Courtesy US Soccer)

The Young Player of the Year award honors the top player in the league age 22 and under. Players born on, or before, Jan. 1,1999 were eligible for selection. Pepi joins former FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele and Texas-native and National Hall of Fame Finalist Clint Dempsey in earning the award, previously known as Rookie of the Year.

Voting Results

Pepi, Ricardo (DAL)22.90%36.40%59.10%39.47%
Buchanan, Tajon (NE)31.30%42.40%19.70%31.13%
Araujo, Julian (LA)3.10%3.00%3.40%3.17%
Dike, Daryl (ORL)3.60%3.00%1.00%2.53%
Barco, Ezequiel (ATL)3.60%0.00%3.40%2.33%

MLS Young Player of the Year / Rookie of the Year Winners

Young Player of the Year

  • 2021: Ricardo Pepi – FC Dallas
  • 2020: Diego Rossi – Los Angeles Football Club

Rookie of the Year

  • 2019: Andre Shinyashiki – Colorado Rapids
  • 2018: Corey Baird – Real Salt Lake
  • 2017: Julian Gressel – Atlanta United
  • 2016: Jordan Morris – Seattle Sounders FC
  • 2015: Cyle Larin – Orlando City SC
  • 2014: Tesho Akindele – FC Dallas
  • 2013: Dillon Powers – Colorado Rapids
  • 2012: Austin Berry – Chicago Fire
  • 2011: C.J. Sapong – Sporting Kansas City
  • 2010: Andy Najar – D.C. United
  • 2009: Omar Gonzalez – LA Galaxy
  • 2008: Sean Franklin – LA Galaxy
  • 2007: Maurice Edu – Toronto FC
  • 2006: Jonathan Bornstein – Chivas USA
  • 2005: Michael Parkhurst – New England Revolution
  • 2004: Clint Dempsey – New England Revolution
  • 2003: Damani Ralph – Chicago Fire
  • 2002: Kyle Martino – Columbus Crew
  • 2001: Rodrigo Faria – MetroStars
  • 2000: Carlos Bocanegra – Chicago Fire
  • 1999: Jay Heaps – Miami Fusion
  • 1998: Ben Olsen – D.C. United
  • 1997: Mike Duhaney – Tampa Bay Mutiny
  • 1996: Steve Ralston – Tampa Bay Mutiny

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