For many, there can only be one winner in the race for the FIFA women’s player of the year award in 2017, and that’s Australia’s Sam Kerr. The 23-year-old attacker led Perth Glory to the final of Australia’s W-League while finishing second in goals, she finished top scorer at the Tournament of Nations as Australia defeated hosts United States and she’s scored 11 goals for Sky Blue FC in NWSL play.
— Westfield Matildas (@TheMatildas) August 18, 2017
Statistically speaking, no one comes close to Kerr, and she’ll rightly be the favorite for the award. But competition will be provided by 24-year-old Dutch midfielder Lieke Martens.
The biggest tournament on the calendar in 2017 was the European Championship, and Martens won the Golden Ball, the award for the tournament’s best player, while leading the host country to an improbable victory.
She scored goals against Belgium, Sweden and Denmark at the tournament while dazzling with her skill and technique. Her performances for FC Rosengard and the Netherlands caught the eye of Barcelona, and she signed with the Spanish giants on July 12.
Esta semana se la dedicamos a la mejor jugadora del Europeo y candidata al trofeo de la UEFA "Women's player of the year", Lieke Martens!! pic.twitter.com/Nz6OHWl9FM— Women'sSoccerSchool (@WssBarcelona) August 16, 2017
While Kerr and Martens are both deserving of the award, it’s somewhat astonishing to see that the one American nominated is Carli Lloyd. Lloyd, of course, has won the award back-to-back years.
In 2015, she was the clear winner after a remarkable World Cup. In 2016, she won the award while admitting “I honestly wasn’t expecting this.” Many thought German Melanie Behringer or Brazilian Marta would scoop the prize after their Olympic performances.
Lloyd has again been nominated despite only scoring one goal in 10 matches for the USWNT in 2017. Alternatively, Crystal Dunn has scored four goals and registered an assist in seven starts. Megan Rapinoe has also been more prolific for the USWNT in 2017, and she’s currently leading the NWSL in scoring with 12 goals.
Christen Press also seems like a more logical nomination for the US. Regardless, the award must certainly go to either Kerr or Martens.
The Nominees for 2017 FIFA Player of the Year
- Lucy Bronze (England)
- Deyna Castellanos (Venezuela)
- Pernille Harder (Denmark)
- Sam Kerr (Australia)
- Carli Lloyd (USA)
- Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany)
- Lieke Martens (Netherlands)
- Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands)
- Wendie Renard (France)
- Jodie Taylor (England)