Shane O'Neill with the U.S. U-20s at the CONCACAF Championships in 2013

Colorado Rapids defender Shane O'Neill a finalist for US Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Tuesday, November 19, 2013) – U.S. Soccer announced today the nominees for their 2013 Athlete of the Year Awards, which includes Colorado Rapids defender Shane O’Neill in the Young Male category. Fans can vote for the finalists in five categories - Male, Female, Young Male, Young Female and Disabled Athletes of the Year - on throughout the week. The winners will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 26.

The U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, dating back to 1984 for the men and 1985 for the women, while the Young Male and Young Female awards were added in 1998. This is the second year U.S. Soccer will name a Disabled Athlete of the Year.

O’Neill made his debut with U.S. Under-20 National Team on Oct. 10, 2012 against Canada in the Marbella Cup and has been a regular on the squad ever since. He anchored a U-20 MNT defense that posted two shutouts during the team’s runner-up performance at the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, where the United States qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. He scored his first international goal in a 3-1 victory against Portugal in a friendly on June 14. At the U-20 World Cup, O’Neill started two of the team’s three group stage games, and scored the U.S.’s only goal in their final match of the tournament against Ghana on June 27.

The Boulder, Colo. native was signed as the Rapids’ second ever Homegrown Player on June 19, 2012. He made his professional debut in the last match of the 2012 season, and then became a regular in the back line during 2013, earning an impressive 8-0-8 record in his first 16 starts. Just 19 years old at the start of the 2013 season, O’Neill was named the Colorado Rapids Young Player of the Year for his performance.

The other four nominees for Young Male Athlete of the Year are Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Shaquell Moore (IMG Academy), Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting KC), and Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew). Nominees must be age eligible for any of the Youth National Teams and can only win the award once in his career. Rapids fans can vote for O’Neill online by clicking here.

Online votes registered at count for 50 percent of the total votes, while the other 50 percent is represented by votes compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives, including National Team coaches and members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors.