Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Carli Lloyd wins second straight FIFA Women's Player of the Year award

Delran native Carli Lloyd has been named FIFA's women's soccer player of the year for the second straight year.

Delran native Carli Lloyd has been named FIFA's women's soccer player of the year for the second straight year.

The U.S. women's national team captain was recognized with the honor at a glitzy award presentation held Monday in Zurich, Switzerland, across town from FIFA's headquarters. She edged German stalwart midfielder Melanie Behringer and Brazilian star Marta in a global vote of players, coaches, media and fans.

Lloyd's honor was in some ways surprising, and in some ways not.

Yes, she recorded a team-high 17 goals (tied with Alex Morgan) and 11 assists for the national team in 2016. And some of those goals were consequential, especially the ones against New Zealand and France at the Olympics.

But the signature moment of the year was the U.S. women crashing out of the Olympics in the quarterfinals with a loss on penalty kicks to Sweden. Behringer, meanwhile was the tournament's top scorer as Germany won gold. Marta helped the host nation to fourth place.

At club level, Lloyd played in just seven of the Houston Dash's 20 games in the National Women's Soccer League season, and the team finished eighth in the 10-team standings. Behringer helped Bayern Munich win Germany's Bundesliga title.

Most notably, Lloyd didn't win U.S. Soccer's own player of the year award. That honor went to Tobin Heath, a creative force on the wing for the national team and the NWSL's Portland Thorns.

So why wasn't it a surprise? At the end of the day, FIFA's awards are popularity contests. It's especially true in women's soccer, whose best players aren't global household names. Even the Olympics weren't big enough a stage for Behringer's stellar year to gain widespread acclaim.

At least Behringer won the global media vote. Marta won the fan vote, and Lloyd won the player and coach votes.

FIFA's cameras were on all three finalists when the award was announced. The look on Lloyd's face seemed to betray a knowledge that she maybe didn't deserve it. So did her remarks on stage.

"I honestly wasn't expecting this," she said. "Melanie and Germany did fantastic in the 2016 Olympics, as well as Marta. Both so deserving of this award."

Lloyd spent the rest of her speech putting the spotlight on others.

"I want to thank [U.S. head coach Jill Ellis and the coaching staff for really believing in me and just helping evolve my game," Lloyd said. "I am someone who wants to continue to get better, because if I'm better the team is better off... I play with some of the best players in the world, competitors [who] push me every single day. I would not be standing up here without them."

Here's a look at the voting data, including how the American representatives voted. You can see all the data for all of FIFA's awards here.

Women's Player of the Year

1. Carli Lloyd, United States (20.68 percent)
2. Marta, Brazil (16.60 percent)
3. Melanie Behringer, Germany (12.34 percent)
4. Dzsenifer Maroszán, Germany (11.68 percent)

No other player got above 10 percent of the vote.

Carli Lloyd's ballot: 1. Lotta Schelin, Sweden; 2. Camille Abily, France; 3. Saki Kumagai, Japan
Jill Ellis' ballot: 1. Carli Lloyd, United States; 2. Dzsenifer Maroszán, Germany; 3. Christine Sinclair, Canada
Media representative Jeff Kassouf's ballot: 1. Dzsenifer Maroszán, Germany; 2. Amandine Henry, France; 3. Carli Lloyd, United States

Women's Coach of the Year

1. Silvia Neid, Germany (29.99 percent)
2. Jill Ellis, United States (16.68 percent)
3. Pia Sundhage, Sweden (16.47 percent)

Neid won every every voting group. No other coach got above 10 percent of the vote. Canada's John Herdman finished fourth with 7.85 percent.

Carli Lloyd's ballot: 1. Jill Ellis, United States; 2. Silvia Neid, Germany; 3. Pia Sundhage, Germany
Jill Ellis' ballot: 1. Silvia Neid, Germany; 2. Pia Sundhage, Sweden; 3. Vera Paw, South Africa*
Jeff Kassouf's ballot: 1. Silvia Neid, Germany; 2. John Herdman, Canada; 3. Pia Sundhage, Germany

* - Pauw coached South Africa to its second consecutive Olympics appearance in 2016, and gave the U.S. a good test in a 1-0 U.S. win at Chicago's Soldier Field in July.