Sacramento Republic FC’s Danny Vitiello was announced on Tuesday as the 2023 USL Championship Goalkeeper of the Year, with the two-time USL Championship Golden Glove winner adding to his accolades in the league after a standout campaign for the side with the best defensive record in the Championship’s regular season.
Now in his fifth season in the professional ranks – and his second with Republic FC – Vitiello produced career highs in regular season appearances (30), saves (82) and shutouts (11) while claiming the Championship’s Golden Glove with a 0.83 goals-against average. The 27-year-old also set a new individual single-season best with a save percentage of 76.2 percent and recorded a -3.12 Goals Prevented mark while committing only one error that led to an opponent’s shot all season.
“I’m incredibly humbled and honored to be named Goalkeeper of the Year, especially competing with some of the top guys and fiercest competitors out there, so hats off to them,” said Vitiello. “There is absolutely no way this award would be possible alone – I have to give a huge thank you and a lot of credit to my teammates, my coaches and the Sacramento Republic FC organization and fans. Thank you for driving my desire to be the best I can be every day and making my job easy. Playing soccer for a living has always been a dream of mine and I always promise never to take a day for granted.
“Thank you to my wife who is my rock through all the ups and downs throughout the season and all the support from my family and friends back on the East Coast. I feel like the best has yet to come and I am looking forward to continuing to prove myself every day.”
A native of Massapequa, New York, Vitiello served as a back-up at New Mexico United while on loan from Nashville SC in his first professional season in 2019 before breaking through with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. Over two seasons with the Hounds, Vitiello claimed his first Golden Glove in 2020 and established himself as one of the league’s top shot-stoppers.
That form has continued with Republic FC, where in each of his two seasons with the club he has posted a cumulative -5.93 Goals Prevented mark while recording 149 saves. Vitiello – who recently signed a new contract to remain with Republic FC moving into the 2024 season – has a career save percentage of 74.2 percent, and has recorded 32 shutouts in 88 career regular season appearances.
Vitiello received 49 percent of the ballot to earn the award. Oakland Roots SC’s Paul Blanchette finished second on 27 percent after leading the Championship with 114 saves while recording a Goals Prevented mark of -4.57, while Detroit City FC’s Nathan Steinwascher finished this on 23 percent after recording 93 saves, a save percentage of 73.8 percent, and a Goals Prevented mark of -3.36.
The 2023 USL Championship Awards were voted on by club management and a league-wide media panel that included representation from every USL market.