Alex Morgan Is U.S. Soccer’s Player Of The Year
Alex Morgan Is U.S. Soccer’s Player Of The Year avatar

Alex Morgan’s golden year continued when U.S. Soccer named the fleet footed striker their 2012 Female Athlete of the Year. With the vote split 50-50 between fans and U.S.Soccer officials/press, Morgan’s spectacular haul of 28 goals and 19 assists in 2012 were too much to overlook.

Alex Morgan has been consistently outstanding and a very deserving winner. (Getty Images)

Also honored was defender Julie Johnston, who captained the United States to the gold medal in U20 World Cup in Japan this summer. Johnston won what U.S. Soccer described as one the closest votes ever taken in this category, edging Kealia Ohai, who scored the gold medal clinching goal, and midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo. Johnson was also honored as the third best player at the World Cup, winning the Bronze Ball, an unusual acknowledgement for a defender.

Julie Johnston was a great leader and helped her team to win the U20 World Cup Crown. (Getty Images)

But as usual the headlines go to Alex Morgan, who has gone from super sub on the silver medal World Cup team in 2011, to perhaps the best player in the world on the 2012 gold medal winners. Although impossible to prove, there is an argument to be made that the U.S. might have stood one step higher on the podium in 2011, had U.S. coach Pia Sundhage moved Morgan into the starting 11 just a bit sooner.

What cannot be disputed, however are Morgan’s statistics, statistics that place Alex Morgan’s 2012 season on the shortlist for the best ever by a United States women’s soccer player. With three games against China remaining this year, Morgan has a realistic chance to reach the 30 goal mark, joining Michelle Akers, and Abby Wambach. When you consider that Morgan also leads the national team in assists, by a wide margin; Megan Rapinoe is second with 11; you have a truly special season.

Alex Morgan in action during the 2012 Olympic Finals. (Getty Images)

But, impressive as Alex Morgan is on the stat sheet, numbers don’t come close to measuring her impact. Take into account the importance of some of Morgan’s goals, with the World Cup semifinal game winning goal against Canada, in the 123 minute, at the top of the list. Morgan is not especially known for headed goals, that’s strike partner Abby Wambach’s forte, but Morgan out leaped both the Canadian goalkeeper and a defender, to get her head to Heather O’Reilly’s cross and send the U.S. to the final.

The most striking thing about Morgan’s game, though, is watching the opposing backline become unnerved by her speed. Seemingly routine long balls sent Morgan’s way result in Morgan blowing past defenders who would seem to have the angle on the ball and the situation under control. Of course Morgan then has the skills to pick out a teammate with a precise cross, or more likely, bury her chance and add to her ever growing goal tally.

Alex and Abby have built a great partnership in-front of goal. (Getty Images)

All that is left for Morgan to complete a dream year is to add the Ballon d’Or to her burgeoning trophy collection. FIFA will announce their world women’s player of the year award January 7, 2013 at a ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, on the same night that Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta are up for the male honors. Alex Morgan will be competing against teammate Abby Wambach and five time winner Marta.

As great a year as Abby Wambach has had, and despite Mata’s brilliance, look for Alex Morgan’s dream year to continue to continue in Zurich.

 

About Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan is a staff writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, covering MLS and other US leagues, He's GotSoccer's chief National Team Correspondent.
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5 Responses to Alex Morgan Is U.S. Soccer’s Player Of The Year
Alex Morgan Is U.S. Soccer’s Player Of The Year avatar

  1. Dan Pettitt says:

    This is incredibly sad. Statistically and in terms of impact to her team, the global player of the year should be Christine Sinclair (recall the three goals she had vs the USA that nearly resulted in elimination). No one carried her organization further nor impacted the greatest game played in the last two years. Can you imagine the impact she would have had if surrounded by another Wambach or Rapinoe. In addition, Marta was clearly not nominated on this years performance. Put more succinctly, ask any US player who they would love not to face.

    • Peter Nolan says:

      Dan, How is it sad that Morgan won the U.S. Soccer Woman’s Player of the Year. Sinclair is a Canadian, therefore not eligible. If you are upset that she wasn’t nominated for the Ballon d’Or, that’s another issue. I agree that Christine Sinclair earned a top three finish, but my vote for world player of the year in the women’s game would be Morgan. The best player on the best team.

  2. Dan Pettitt says:

    Sorry for the confusion in my response. Alex is definately the best player on the US team and deserves nomination. I was referring to the Ballon d’Or award omission of Sinclair in the top 3, while Marta was considered. However I would disagree with your criteria of best player on best team analogy. There are a plethora of MVP players in multiple sports who did not play on the championship teams (Halliday in baseball, Lemieux in hockey, Messi last year for Barcelona). Isn’t the best player the one with the most meaningful impact? According to the Canadian Soccer Association, Sinclair — with 23 goals and six assists — contributed to 65.9% of her team’s scoring in 2012. Morgan was involved in 41.7% of the U.S. team’s goals, with 27 goals and 18 assists in 27 games. Wambach was involved in 28.7% of the Americans’ goals, while Marta scored just two international goals in seven games for Brazil, but had a strong pro season in Sweden.
    Put more succinctly, how would Sinclair have done if she had Rapinoe and Wambach on her team?
    Even Marta has stated Sinclair was #1.

    • Peter Nolan says:

      No problem Dan. Of course it comes down to a matter of opinion. In the men’s field, for example, there is the ongoing Messi/Ronaldo debate. They are both outrageously great players, but someone has to win. As for the women’s, my feeling is that Sinclair and Wambach are similar players, while Morgan brings a different element, namely her speed. And I do think, the success of the team matters. As for Morgan’s teammates, I think it should be noted that with all the attention she draws, they benefit greatly from her presence as well.
      But your points are good ones, and I do believe that Sinclair deserved a spot on the podium.

  3. LetsGetReal says:

    Dan Pettitt Lets Get Real.

    Sinclair is definitely one of the top 10 players in the world, but without the Olympic Semi. Sinclair only scored 4 goals against Top 10 Ranked Teams this entire year (3 of which were against a weakening Brazil) and she’s a forward??!!! USA vs Canada games..Alex scored 2 game winning goals in a 3-0 record vs Canada.

    One Game Doesn’t make a player a candidate for player of the year. (Marta being a finalist isn’t a surprise since it’s like Messi winning last year on his pure talent)

    Quick Stats
    Canada vs Top 10 Ranked Teams
    Opponent (Sinclair Goals) Result
    USA 3 LOSE
    GB 1 WIN
    Sweden 0 TIE
    Japan 0 LOSE
    Brazil 1 LOSE
    USA 0 LOSE
    Sweden 0 LOSE
    Brazil 2 WIN
    France 0 LOSE
    USA 0 LOSE

    Goals 7; 10 Games: 2-7-1

    USA vs Top 10 Ranked Teams
    Opponent (Morgan Goals) Result
    Canada 2 WIN
    Japan 0 LOSE
    Sweden 3 WIN
    Japan 1 TIE
    Brazil 0 WIN
    Sweden 1 WIN
    Japan 2 WIN
    Canada 0 WIN
    France 2 WIN
    North K 0 WIN
    Canada 1 WIN
    Japan 0 WIN
    Aus. 1 WIN
    Aus. 2 WIN
    Germ 0 TIE
    Germ 0 TIE

    15 Goals, Record 12-1-3

    Marta, Abby, Alex looks like the same kind of top 3 as Iniesta, Messi, Ronaldo

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