Winning my first U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year award is special

Posted by Jozy Altidore

George Frey/Getty ImagesIt's been a special year for Jozy Altidore, whose U.S. Soccer award is richly deserved.

Truly honored.

I really don't know how else to describe how I felt upon learning I was named this year's Male Athlete of the Year for United States Soccer. Saying I was surprised when told I had earned the honor would be a complete understatement.

Finding myself among such an accomplished group of current and former players who have received the award was humbling, to say the least.

First and foremost, I want to thank all the fans who voted for me online at USsoccer.com. Those online votes made up half the total polling, so without your support I would not have been the recipient of this honor.

From my first appearance with our national team, you have consistently supported me when I step on the field representing the United States. Receiving that type of support is something I do not take for granted and appreciate every minute of it.

I also appreciate the fans, the supporters' backing and their interest in my philanthropic endeavors off the field. My charitable organization -- the Jozy Altidore Foundation -- is extremely important to me, and the way many have you contributed to our causes has been truly appreciated. Hopefully, you will continue to support our future projects.

I'd also like to thank the members of the national media, as well as the U.S. Soccer representatives involved in the voting process for the award. I appreciate your recognizing my accomplishments on the field this year and realize it was a very difficult decision for you having to choose from a group of candidates who were all deserving. So, thank you.

Courtesy of Jeremy PondAltidore fans at an American Outlaws event in Kansas City ahead of the U.S. qualifier vs. Jamaica.


Finally, I want to thank my U.S. teammates and coaching staff. Obviously, everyone has had a hand in our accomplishments as a unit during what turned out to be an extremely memorable second year for us.

I also want to send congratulations to Abby Wambach, who picked up an unprecedented sixth Female Athlete of the Year award. When you pass Mia Hamm, arguably the best player in the history of global women's soccer, for total times earning the honor (Mia earned it five consecutive times), you firmly plant yourself among the living legends and greats of the game.

On that note, it's time to rest up and get ready for Sunderland's big road match Saturday against Aston Villa. As it is every week, this is another huge match for us as we look to move up the Premier League table. It will also be nice to see Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, my U.S. teammate, at Villa Park.

Hopefully we can put together a positive road performance and come away with some much-needed points.

Until next time, take care, my friends. I wish everyone back home in the States a very Happy Thanksgiving as well.

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