With U.S. Men’s Soccer at a low point the women’s team has once again given American soccer fans something to cheer about with today’s news that three of the U.S. WNT World Cup winning side, as well as the team’s coach, have been nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
World Cup hat trick hero Carli Lloyd leads the group that also includes goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielder Megan Rapinoe, as well as U.S. national team coach Jill Ellis.
The following ten women (in alphabetical order) are contenders for the title of FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year 2015:
Nadine Angerer (Germany/Brisbane Roar/Portland Thorns), Ramona Bachmann (Switzerland/FC Rosengård), Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada/West Virginia University), Amandine Henry (France/Olympique Lyonnais), Eugénie Le Sommer (France/Olympique Lyonnais), Carli Lloyd (USA/Houston Dash), Aya Miyama (Japan/Okayama Yunogo Belle), Megan Rapinoe (USA/Seattle Reign), Célia Šašić (Germany/1.FFC Frankfurt), Hope Solo (USA/Seattle Reign).
After years of being overshadowed by Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach, who won this honor in 2012, it would finally seem to be Lloyd’s time to to shine.
The U.S. looked far from a World Cup winning team in the early going at Canada 2015, until a tactical switch by Ellis freed up Lloyd to play a more attacking role. Lloyd went on to score six goals to tie Germany’s Celia Sasic for the most in the tournament, capping it all with a hat trick that devastated Japan in a 5-2 U.S. win in the World Cup Final.
Lloyd scored in the third and sixth minutes with midfield partner Lauren Holiday making the score 3-0 in the 14th minute, before Lloyd effectively finished Japan off with a wonder strike from just inside the midfield stripe.
The goal was Lloyd’s third in 13 minutes and it left Japan in tatters while securing the Golden Ball as Best Player of World Cup for Lloyd.
In addition to the three Americans, women from five other nations were shortlisted for the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Award, with two players each from France and Germany receiving nominations. The rest of the nominees come from Canada, Japan and Switzerland, leaving third place finishers England aggrieved not to have had one of its players put forward for the honor, with defender Lucy Bronze the most likely candidate.
The nomination of Lloyd’s teammate, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo figures to generate plenty of controversy with the star keeper still facing domestic violence charges.
Solo had been suspended in the build up to the World Cup, but when the case was dropped Solo was quickly called back into the team, going on to win the Golden Glove as the top keeper at the World Cup. Authorities in Washington State have since reinstated charges against Solo, whose career continues to be mired in controversy.
Of the 10 nominees German goalkeeper Nadine Angerer is the lone past winner of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Award, with five time winner Marta and 2012 winner Wambach notably failing to make the list.
The following ten coaches (in alphabetical order, giving first nationality and then team in brackets) are contenders for the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football 2015:
Calle Barrling (Sweden/Swedish U-19 national team), Colin Bell (England/1.FFC Frankfurt), Farid Benstiti (France/Paris Saint-Germain), Jill Ellis (USA/USA national team), Laura Harvey (England/Seattle Reign), John Herdman (England/Canadian national team), Gérard Prêcheur (France/Olympique Lyonnais), Mark Sampson (Wales/English national team), Norio Sasaki (Japan/Japanese national team), Thomas Wörle (Germany/FC Bayern Munich).