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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Donovan becomes award's first four-time winner

LOS ANGELES -- Landon Donovan captured the Honda Award as U.S. soccer player of the year in a landslide vote, winning for an unprecedented fourth time.

The 25-year-old Donovan, honored Friday as the national team's top player, also received the award in 2002, when he was the youngest winner. He took the trophy in 2003 and 2004, becoming the first player to win the award three times.

He received 413 points in the nationwide balloting. Goalkeeper Tim Howard finished second with 122 and three-time finalist Carlos Bocanegra was third with 105.

Howard plays for Everton, and Bocanegra for Fulham, both in the English Premier League. They each were on the phone during the award ceremony in Los Angeles.

"I'm real proud of you guys," Donovan said after receiving the trophy.

He thought it was a significant sign for the future of U.S. soccer that all three of the finalists are still relatively young. Both Howard and Bocanegra are 28.

"We're all stepping up and have a vision of where we want to go," Donovan said.

National team coach Bob Bradley said Donovan has had a great career, and he still has a bright future.

"It's incredible what he's accomplished, and he's still young," Bradley said.

When he was announced as the winner, Donovan gave his mother, Donna Kenney-Cash, a quick hug as he got up to receive the trophy.

She was a soccer mom and more, saying, "I was his first coach."

And still a typical soccer mom.

"I'm excited [at games]. I have fun and if he gets taken down, I suffer," she said.

The voting by a panel of 203 journalists was based on three points for first place, two points for second and one for third.

Donovan leads the national team with nine goals this year, including a three-goal game against Ecuador and four during the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament during the summer.

His penalty kick against Mexico to win the United States' fourth Gold Cup title was his 34th career goal. That tied him with Eric Wynalda as the leading career scorer for the national team.

"I know I have a long way to go," Donovan said. "There are always constant reminders of how we can get better. I'm constantly challenging myself."

He had rushed to the ceremony after practicing with his Major League Soccer team, the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas, himself a former U.S. player of the year, said, "He deserves all of the awards he gets."