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 Tuesday, October 8, 2002 18:52 EST

Donovan named Player of the Year

[Associated Press]

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Landon Donovan was selected Honda Player of the Year on Tuesday after leading the U.S. team to the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

The 20-year-old forward-midfielder received 497 points -- including 74 first-place votes -- in balloting by 277 U.S. journalists who cover soccer.

``I feel bad, like the young guy shouldn't win,'' Donovan said after the presentation at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

``I'm really astonished,'' said Donovan, who received a new car and a trophy.

Brad Friedel finished second with 382 points, and Claudio Reyna, who won the award in 2000, was third with 274 points.

Donovan became the youngest winner of the 12-year-old award, which goes to a member of the U.S. national team.

``What are you, 10?'' Friedel jokingly asked Donovan. ``It's great for such a young player to win an award like this, especially since he plays in the United States where everyone can see him week in and week out.''

Donovan plays for Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes and helped lead them to the 2001 MLS championship in his first season with the team.

He scored two goals at the World Cup, which ended for the United States with a 1-0 loss to Germany. Overall, Donovan scored six goals this year for the American team.

``You can make a case for Brad or Claudio or a lot of guys on our team,'' Donovan said. ``I hope I have many years where I can be nominated and I hope they do too, but maybe not, so that's why I feel bad.''

Friedel, 31, played every minute of every game in goal during the World Cup. The former UCLA player traveled from England, where he plays in the Premier League, to attend the ceremony.

``Landon is going to have a tremendous career ahead of him,'' Friedel said.

Reyna, 29, participated by telephone from England, where his wife is about to give birth to their second child. He is a five-time nominee.




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