Same Team, Different Skills

What makes a team great is a variety of players. A basketball team needs tall players in addition to players who can shoot the ball well. Football teams need strong players on the line, blocking for the faster ball carriers. Track and field teams need sprinters and distance runners.

The idea is that different players with different skills come together to form a team that does everything well. One team that demonstrates this well is the United States Soccer Team. Team USA has announced the three finalists for its Player of the Year Award. Each player brings a different style of play to the field in an effort to help the team.

Landon Donovan: A forward and midfielder, Donovan is one of the most well-known players on Team USA. He has actually won the Player of the Year Award five times in his career, including the last two years. He is Team USA's all-time leader in scoring and assists. He is a wonderful play-maker, who knows how to put his teammates in a position to score, or score goals himself.

Tim Howard: This goalkeeper emerged as a super star this year when he helped Team USA reach the finals of the Confederations Cup Tournament. He earned a shutout in the United States' amazing victory over Spain and was named the tournament's top goalie. At 6-foot-3, Howard uses his height to help stop goals. But he is also a fantastic athlete with the ability to save shots anywhere in front of the net.

Jozy Altidore: Still just a teenager, the 19-year-old Altidore is a speedy forward with a knack for scoring goals. He has scored several big-time goals, including the game-winner in the upset victory over Spain. Altidore is the youngest American player ever to score a hat trick (three goals) in international competition and also owns several other records. He is considered the future of American soccer.

Each of these athletes plays a different role for Team USA. Donovan is a veteran leader, Howard is an extremely strong goalie and Altidore is an exciting young player. They have all identified what they can do well, and they use their skills to make the entire team better.

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