El Paso’s Ricardo Pepi named MLS Young Player of the Year

Soccer

Photo Courtesy: FC Dallas

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The legend grows.

Major League Soccer announcing on Thursday that El Paso’s Ricardo Pepi has been named the 2021 MLS Young Player of the Year after the 18-year-old exploded onto the scene with FC Dallas. The MLS Young Player of the Year award honors the top player in the league age 22 and under.

A product of the prolific FC Dallas Academy, Pepi led FC Dallas with 13 goals and three assists this season. Pepi recorded his first MLS hat trick at 18 years and 196 days old, the youngest player to score a hat trick in MLS history. He also notched a pair of braces against New England Revolution on June 27 and in-state rival Austin FC on Aug. 29. Pepi’s 13 goals this season ties the all-time single-season MLS record for most goals scored by a teenager, as he became only the second teenager to score 10 or more goals in a single season.

Pepi earned two MLS Player of the Week honors and was named to the 2021 MLS All-Star team, in which he scored the game-winning penalty kick, clinching an MLS All-Stars victory over the LIGA MX All-Stars, 3-2 on penalties.

A native of San Elizario, Pepi has received multiple call-ups to the U.S. 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.

The Young Player of the Year award was voted on by MLS club technical staff, media and current MLS players.

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