Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Women’s National Team will have two representatives on the ten-player shortlist for FIFA’s Women’s Ballon D’or, or the World Player of the Year award.
FIFA revealed on Friday that 2012 Ballon D’or winner USWNT forward Abby Wambach and teammate Alex Morgan have both been nominated for the award. It’s the seventh time in Wambach’s career that her name has made the shortlist, while it’s the third such honor for Morgan.
The winners of both the male and female Player of the Year awards will be announced on January 13, 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland. National Team captains and coaches, as well as select media members will vote to determine the winners.
If the 33-year-old Wambach can win the award again, it would represent the second time that an American has won two consecutive titles; Mia Hamm won two-straight FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2001 and 2002.
Last year, Wambach won her first ever World Player of the Year award from FIFA, finishing above Brazilian star Marta and Morgan. In 2011, Japanese international Homare Sawa broke Marta’s streak of five straight Ballon D’or trophies.
This year, the Rochester, N.Y. native lead the Western New York Flash to the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League final, scoring 11 goals in 21 appearances. With the national team this summer, Wambach scored 10 goals in 11 games, including a four-goal night against South Korea in Harrison, N.J. when she broke Hamm’s all time record for goals scored at the international level. Wambach’s international total currently stands at 162 following her goal vs. Australia last Sunday.
Morgan was opposite Wambach in this season’s NWSL final with the Portland Thorns, despite battling a knee injury in the final month of the season. Morgan scored nine goals in 19 games for the Thorns this season and has six goals and four assists with the USWNT in 2013.
Also included in the release is Thorns head coach Cindy Parlow Cone, who is nominated for FIFA Coach of the Year in Women’s Soccer after leading her side to the title.
What do you think of this news? Do you see Wambach winning the award again this year? Do you believe another U.S. player deserved to be on the shortlist?
Share your thoughts below.