U.S. Soccer has named national team forward Eric Wynalda as its 1996 male athlete of the year. He will be U.S. Soccer's nominee for the U.S. Olympic Committee's Sportsman of the Year award.
Wynalda became the all-time leading goalscorer for the men's national team in 1996. He has scored 25 goals in just 74 appearances, including seven of the USA's 10 goals this in 1996, and tallied the gamewinner in the MLS inaugural game April 6.
"Eric Wynalda displays a rare form of flair, skill, determination, and leadership," said U.S. Soccer Secretary General Hank Steinbrecher. "He plays with style and personality on the field and is a great ambassador for soccer."
The U.S. Soccer athletes of the year are chosen on the basis of competing and excelling at the highest level of soccer offered by U.S. Soccer for the calendar year, exhibiting decorum on and off the field which reflects well on U.S. Soccer, and contributing toward soccer's popularization, acceptance, and credibility in the U.S.
The female athlete of the year will be announced next week.
Tampa Bay Mutiny forward Roy Lassiter has been officially loaned to Genoa of Italy's Serie B. Lassiter is scheduled to return to the U.S. on March 30; however, the Italian club does have an option to buy Lassiter's contract from MLS, with the price tag being inthe low seven figure range.
"The deal that we have concluded with Genoa is a win-win situation for all parties concerned," said Tampa Bay Mutiny G.M. Nickk Sakiewicz. "Roy will continue to refine his gameat a very high level, and we should get back a player in top match condition. Roy has some areas in his game that need refinement which should make him an awesome forward. It's a scary thought, but Roy might be even better when he returns."