Sporting Kansas City midfielder Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal is a finalist for USL's 2018 Young Player of the Year award, the United Soccer League announced on Tuesday. The 2018 USL Awards were voted on by team management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market.
Kuzain, 20, is one of four finalists along with Efrain Alvarez (LA), Andrew Carleton (ATL) and Hassan Ndam (NY) for the award, which recognizes the top player from the 2018 USL season who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1996. The recipient of the award will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Kuzain enjoyed a standout year in helping the Rangers return to the USL Cup Playoffs for a third consecutive season as he recorded four goals in 22 appearances, including a league-best three goals from free kicks in the regular season and the game-winning goal in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. He also posted the fourth-highest passing accuracy rate in the league among players with more than 800 passes at 89.24 percent.
Kuzain joined the Sporting Kansas City Academy in August 2016 and finished the 2016-17 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season with Central Conference Best XI honors. Kuzain continued to develop in 2017 with the Swope Park Rangers, signing his first professional contract in July and appearing in 13 matches to help SPR secure a second straight Western Conference championship.
This year, Kuzain became the ninth Homegrown Player in Sporting Kansas City history when he signed an MLS contract in April. He made eight appearances for the Western Conference winners, becoming the third youngest goal scorer in the team's regular season history with the game-winner in a 4-1 victory over Minnesota United FC in June before providing an assist in the club's 3-2 win over FC Dallas in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.
Kuzain, the No. 3-ranked player in this year's USL 20 Under 20 series, was also selected to the 2018 MLS Homegrown Game in July in conjunction with the 2018 MLS All-Star Game.