Earnie Stewart, the U.S. national soccer team's leading scorer in 2001, has been selected as the 2001 Honda Player of the Year. The 32-year-old Stewart was selected in balloting by 251 American sports journalists.

He received special permission from his professional club team in the Netherlands, NAC Breda of the Dutch first division, to travel to Los Angeles where he received the award Wednesday. Stewart and wife Yvonne returned to the Netherlands immediately after the festivities concluded so he can play in a game against Fortuna Sittard on Friday.

Stewart is an 11-year veteran of the U.S. national soccer team, and said winning this award in a World Cup qualifying year really means a lot to him. The midfielder-forward received 290 total points as the winner. Team captain Claudio Reyna, who won last year's Player of the Year award, finished second with 205 points. Defender Jeff Agoos finished third with 181 points.

Each first place vote was worth three points, a second place vote two points and a third place vote one point.

Earnie Stewart was born in the Netherlands to an American father and Dutch mother. He lived in California for five years as a child. Stewart is one of the most experienced players on the U.S. national team, playing every game in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups as well as every minute of every World Cup qualifying match this year.

Stewart wins a new Honda Accord car for being named Player of the Year, and $5,000 will be donated to the American Youth Soccer Organization on Stewart's behalf by the American Honda Motor Company.