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U.S. national men

Jones wins Honda award as best U.S. national team player.

Cobi Jones BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (Monday, December 14, 1998) -- Midfielder Cobi Jones was honored today as Honda Player of the Year, signifying the top performer on the United States men's national soccer team.

"It's a great feeling to win," Jones said. "Every player likes to be acknowledged in some shape or form that what they're doing is the right thing."

Jones received 67 first-place votes and 271 points from a panel of over 200 print and broadcast soccer reporters. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller was second with 238 points and 48 first-place votes, and defender Eddie Pope, the 1997 winner, was third with 145 points and 21 first-place votes.

Jones was a steady performer for the disappointing national team and had a stellar season for Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy.

Jones, 28, played in 15 of the national team's 16 matches, starting 14. He did not have a goal or an assist as the U.S. finished 6-6-4, including an 0-3 mark in the World Cup, finishing last in the 32-team field.

His 19 goals and 51 points were second in MLS, despite the fact that he missed eight matches because of the World Cup, as he led the Galaxy to the regular-season MLS Western Conference championship.

"If you can believe it, Cobi has grown even more as a player," Pope said. "He's become even more confident and increased his ability to sniff out goals. Some goal-scorers, once they're in the box, can score no matter what, and that's what he showed in the last year. The way he played in MLS was incredible. He was basically unstoppable."

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