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US Soccer Names Athletes of the Year - 2002-01-30

The U.S. soccer federation has honored Earnie Stewart, a midfielder for the U.S. men's national team, and forward Tiffeny Milbrett of the U.S. women's team as athletes of the year. The awards were presented in Pasadena, Califorinia Tuesday.

U.S. women's team forward Tiffeny Milbrett accepted the Chevy Athlete of the Year trophy for the second year in a row.

"You know, you never can tell if you're going to win awards or not. You never know," said Tiffeny. "[There are] so many good players, so many good talents out there. Especially when you're a part of a team, so many people contribute to the success, and to narrow it down to one, it really is an honor."

U.S. men's coach Bruce Arena accepted the award of male athlete of the year on behalf of Earnie Stewart, the U.S. national team forward, who plays during the regular season in Holland.

The U.S. men's team has advanced to the semifinal round of the Gold Cup tournament, and will face Canada Wednesday here in Pasadena.

U.S. Coach Arena notes his team is coming off a 4-0 win over El Salvador on Sunday, and says his players have improved through the course of the tournament.

"We had a long layoff, but two weeks of good physical training before we started the tournament," he said. "And I think now our players are getting their legs back a little bit and feeling better about how they're playing and how they're playing with each other."

U.S. coach Bruce Arena helped present the award for "young male athlete of the year" to 19-year-old DaMarcus Beasley, a midfielder for the U.S. men's national team. Aleisha Cramer, a 19-year-old midfielder for the U.S. women's team, was named "young female athlete of the year."