TAMPA, Fla. – Late in the 2020 USL League One season, Fort Lauderdale CF’s Noah Allen got his first opportunity to compete in the professional ranks, making a pair of appearances last October.
That introduction served as a prelude to what was to come this year for the 17-year-old full back, who this year led the club in minutes played while playing all-but-one game in the regular season while contributing at both ends of the field.
On Wednesday, Allen was named as the 2021 USL League One Young Player of the Year, setting a marker for what could be a very bright future for the South Florida native.
“It means everything,” said Allen. “I’m truly blessed to be here and to even get a shot to play for this team this year. Obviously, I wanted to take my experience and take my opportunity and I’m happy that I was able to get this award. It’s amazing.”
Previously a United States U-15 selection, Allen was one of the constants in Fort Lauderdale’s lineup throughout the campaign, leading the side with 2,430 minutes of action as one of four players to top 2,000 minutes in the regular season. He showed impressively at both ends of the field, ranking second on the team with 35 interceptions while winning 34 of 44 tackles – a 77.3 percent success rate – at the defensive end. In attack, he finished second on the team with 28 key passes – 17 of which came from open play – and notched his first two assists in the professional ranks.
Overall, Allen recorded a +2.98 Goals Added mark as he completed 80.5 percent of 1,033 passes across the regular season. According to Fort Lauderdale Head Coach Darren Powell, Allen’s willingness to learn and improve each day has been a key to his progression from last year to this, and will be essential as he looks to take the next step in his career.
“We’ve been fortunate with the ownership really investing in the youth development in South Florida and Noah’s been an example for all of the young players coming through in South Florida and within the Academy,” said Powell. “We want that integration from the First Team all the way down to the U-12s, and now obviously Noah has shown good characteristics on and off the field throughout his time here and then been able to make those progressive steps.”
For his part, the Pembroke Pines, Florida native is appreciative of the opportunity and guidance he’s received since joining the club’s academy and the potential path it now offers him.
“It’s definitely made me grow so much as a player,” said Allen. “Every single coach I’ve had has helped me with something, and some coaches have helped me a lot more in different areas. I didn’t think I would get this anywhere else.”
Allen received 19 percent of the ballot to earn the award. Fort Lauderdale CF teammate Shaan Hundal and Toronto FC II’s Kobe Franklin each received 13 percent, with 10 different players earning votes on the ballot.
The 2021 USL League One Awards were voted on by team technical staffs and executives representing every team.
USL League One Young Player of the Year
2021 – Noah Allen, Fort Lauderdale CF
2020 – Chris Brady, Forward Madison FC
2019 – Arturo Rodriguez, North Texas SC
2021 USL League One Awards
Goalkeeper of the Year: Akira Fitzgerald, Richmond Kickers
Defender of the Year: Damia Viader, Union Omaha
Coach of the Year: Jay Mims, Union Omaha
Young Player of the Year: Noah Allen, Fort Lauderdale CF
Most Valuable Player: Announced November 18