AWARDS_2021_YOUNG-PLAYER_PEPI

El Tren's magical year keeps rolling. Major League Soccer on Thursday announced FC Dallas forward Ricardo Pepi as the 2021 MLS Young Player of the Year after the 18-year-old burst onto the scene with breakout campaigns for both club and country.

A product of the prolific FC Dallas Academy, Pepi led his club with 13 goals and three assists this season. Pepi’s standout performances included his first MLS hat trick, against the LA Galaxy on July 24, as well as a pair of braces, against the Supporters’ Shield-winning New England Revolution on June 27 and against in-state rival Austin FC on Aug. 29.

Building on his success for FC Dallas, the El Paso native earned multiple call-ups to the US men’s national team for Concacaf World Cup Qualifying, notching the go-ahead goal and dishing out two assists against Honduras on Sept. 8 in his debut and recording a brace against Jamaica on Oct. 7.

Tuesday's award adds to the accolade Pepi received when being voted No. 1 on MLSsoccer.com's 22 Under 22 presented by BODYARMOR list last month.

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.

The Young Player of the Year award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and current MLS players. Below is a breakdown of the voting results, with Pepi edging out New England Revolution and Canada men's national team starlet Tajon Buchanan.

Voting Results
Players
Clubs
Media
TOTAL
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%

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