Mexican-American forward Ricardo Pepi of FC Dallas was the winner of the American Professional Soccer League Young Player Award during the 2021 regular season, MLS announced Thursday.
Pepi, 18, born in El Paso (Texas) this season became the great revelation of the league and was also called up to the United States team, where he is already a starter.
The FC Dallas forward, a product of the Texan team’s quarry, finished in the lead with 13 goals and three assists during the 2021 season.
Despite Pepi’s great individual work, FC Dallas could not qualify for the playoffs and before the end of the regular season they also fired Cuban-American coach Luchi González, who was the one who discovered and developed the new figure of the Texan team.
Pepi starred in several notable matches including his first MLS hat trick at 18 years and 196 days of age, making him the youngest player to do so in league history, as well as a pair of doubles. against the winner of the Supporters’ Shield, New England Revolution, on June 27 and against regional rival, the new Austin FC franchise, on August 29.
Additionally, Pepi’s 13 goals this season equate to MLS’s all-time record in a single season for the most goals scored by a teenager, and the second he managed more than 10.
The record regular season allowed Pepi to win the Player of the Week award twice and he was named to the 2021 MLS All-Star team, in which he scored the winning goal on a penalty in the first game against him. the Stars of Liga MX.
Within the United States team, his debut in the match against Honduras was decisive, leading the visitor’s comeback with one goal and two assists and later also getting a double against Jamaica.
In the final vote, Pepi beat Canadian Tajon Buchanan (New England), second, and Mexican-American Julián Araujo (Los Angeles Galaxy), who finished third.
The Young Player of the Year award recognizes the best footballer age 22 and under in the league. EFE