To open our annual award voting, we’ll start with the best Minnesotan men under the age of 23 in 2017, who plied their trade in-state and beyond.
Shae Bottum — The St. Thomas senior attacker was named the Division III Player of the Year after a sterling season in which he pulled the strings in the attack for the Tommies. A native of West Lakeland, Bottum scored nine goals (three of which were penalties, eight of which were game-winners) and assisted on 15, leading his team to a school-record 22 wins and the NCAA quarterfinals. Bottum’s influence was especially felt in the NCAA tournament, in which he scored the game winner for St. Thomas in the round of 32 and the round of 16.
Sean Boyle — Named the 2017 U.S. Soccer Disabled player of the Year, the Minneapolis native led the U.S. Paralympic Team to the quarterfinals of the 2017 World Championship. Boyle pulled a Tim Howard-esque performance in the group stage against eventual champions Ukraine, making 13 saves while being constantly under siege.
Jackson Yueill — Selected sixth in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by the San Jose Earthquakes, Yueill impressed in his debut season in MLS. A native of Bloomington and graduate of the Minnesota Thunder Academy (where his dad is a coach), Yueill appeared thirteen times for the Quakes, and six more times for their USL affiliate in Reno, logging just under 1,000 minutes and recording one assist. The midfielder also scored a goal in his debut for San Jose in the Quakes’ 2-0 U.S. Open Cup victory over the San Francisco Deltas.
Justin Oliver — The St. Thomas senior forward and 2013 Mr. Minnesota Soccer award winner, Oliver was the tip of the spear for the Tommies’ lethal attack in 2017. The Oakdale native led the team with sixteen goals (all from open play, six of which were game winners) in just 23 appearances, helping the Tommies set a school record with 56 goals in a season. He also added four assists. Oliver scored twice in the MIAC championship against Macalester, and the game winner in the NCAA round of 64.
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