This is not in any way intended to be a hit piece against Carli Lloyd, weeks after she was voted the best female soccer player on the planet. On the contrary, her 2015 performances made her second to none and she deserved that title that she won in January of 2016.
But was the subsequent year really good enough from her to merit a title defense, earlier this month?
In her acceptance speech for the award this time around, she was gracious enough to openly admit that she did not expect to win it that time.
There were certainly others who would have been more deserving of the honor on the basis of their 2016 performances.
The fact that they did not win, however seems to be down to a larger problem that has to do with how little access fans and experts alike have to the best in women’s soccer, that they are asked to vote on, at the end of any given calendar year.
The problem is that female players (and women’s coaches) are usually narrowly judged on either memorable performance at World Cups, Olympics and occasionally European Championships; or they are judged on their overall career accomplishments at those events.
Marta is a prime example of the latter category. Due to her fantastic past accomplishments, she seems to be voted in among the finalists every year, no matter what her performance was for the season in question. (Granted, 2016 may have been her best year so far this decade.)
Club success is barely even a factor, when it comes to FIFA women’s awards. That again is due to only the most knowledgeable experts and the most hardcore fans even watching women’s club soccer every week, despite the fact that the players spend most of their time with their clubs.
According to UEFA’s website, only one player, (male or female) scored more goals in UEFA club competitions than the glamorous Cristiano Ronaldo in 2016. It was Norwegian striker Ada Hegerberg, playing for Lyon.
The fact that she was not even among the nominees for the best women’s player ,proves that FIFA tends to disregard club soccer, when it comes to women’s awards. Hegerberg’s Norwegian national team did not qualify for the Olympics; thus she was out of the running for the award.
From those who were nominated, I picked Dzsenifer Marozsan as the best, because she is the most technically gifted of the German Olympic gold medalists.
Later, when the finalists Lloyd, Marta and Behringer were announced, I thought that Behringer would win it, because she was the overall most important player for that German team and for Bayern Munich’s Women’s Bundesliga champions too.
We all have to do more to bring to light the every-day business of women’s club soccer in order to help FIFA honor the best.