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Tampa Bay United’s Nicholas Skubis earns Academy Finals Golden Ball

By Staff, 11/20/22, 4:30PM EST


Key figure in TBU’s title victory joined by teammate Nicolas Mejia as Golden Glove, New Mexico’s Alex Waggoner takes Golden Boot

Tampa Bay United's Nicholas Skubis was awarded the Golden Ball at the 2022 USL Academy Finals after leading his side to victory in the Playoff Division tournament.

TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay United midfielder Nicholas Skubis has been awarded the Golden Ball at the 2022 USL Academy Finals, earning the honor of the tournament’s best player after leading his side to victory in the Playoff Division on Sunday morning at the Sportsplex of Tampa Bay.

Skubis was joined by Tampa Bay United teammate Nicolas Mejia as the Golden Glove for best goalkeeper, while New Mexico United’s Alex Waggoner was awarded the Golden Boot as the leading scorer at the event. Queensboro FC’s Diego Gomez was awarded the Coach of the Tournament award.

The 17-year-old Skubis recorded a goal and assist as Tampa Bay took a 2-0 victory against Queensboro FC on Sunday and was influential throughout the week for the tournament winners. A longtime part of the TBU Academy, Skubis recorded a pair of goals in the tournament on top of impressive two-way work in midfield for his side.

“Winning a championship is something you always hope to do, so this is awesome, great for the team,” said Skubis. “Playing with all my teammates is awesome, they’re all great players and I’ve learned everything from them. Same with the coaches, too, always pushing you. It’s a great environment.”

Mejia claimed the Golden Glove after recording three shutouts in four games for Tampa Bay, including in the Final against Queensboro FC and in the side’s opening game against 2021 title winner Indy Eleven.

Waggoner earned the Golden Boot as he recorded six goals during the tournament, scoring in all four games for United. The 18-year-old close out the tournament with his second two-goal performance of the tournament and notched his second assist of the tournament as New Mexico took a 3-0 victory against San Antonio FC to finish in fifth place at the event.

Gomez, meanwhile, led his Queensboro side to a second consecutive appearance in the Academy Final, with the side showing off a high level of technical proficiency and numerous entertaining passages of play.