FIFA released their shortlist of 10 players for the Ballon d'Or this morning, and three American names were included:
Carli Lloyd's inclusion on this list was probably as obvious as FIFA's executive committee not being entirely on the level. After her bravura performance at the World Cup final, she immediately shot to the forefront of every possible footballing award shortlist. Go ahead and take a minute to rewatch that goal from half field. You know you want to.
The other two names on this list weren't so obvious that there was general consensus on them, but they both have their merits.
Megan Rapinoe had a pretty good year for club and country. She was a very creative presence for a lot of the World Cup and still managed five goals and five assists in 10 games for the Seattle Reign. (Not that FIFA takes club play into consideration in World Cup years, but let's continue to strive for a better world.)
Hope Solo had a slightly quieter World Cup than Rapinoe by virtue of the stellar defense in front of her. She had one of the best save rates among WC keepers, but also didn't face as many shots. But she did do stuff like this against Australia, and she ended up with the Golden Glove. And she was stalwart as usual for the Reign, so in a year when she was "just" very good instead of off-the-charts, it's not the worst thing in the world to see her and Rapinoe included in this list
Except for the fact that Becky Sauerbrunn DID have an off-the-charts year not just anchoring the USWNT, but also keeping it real for FC Kansas City and helping them win the NWSL championship. (See also: Lauren Holiday.) But because so much of her work as a center back is not flashy, she finds herself snubbed yet again, just as she was by FIFA's Technical Study Group in creating the World Cup All Star squad.
Honestly, what does Becky Sauerbrunn have to do? (Score goals, probably, as her partner and high-flying center back Julie Johnston did during the World Cup.)
Meanwhile, over on the coaching shortlist, Jill Ellis unsurprisingly made an appearance. You win a World Cup, you get on the shortlist. She'll very likely make the last cut to three finalists, if not win the whole shebangabang outright.
FULL PLAYER AND COACH SHORTLISTS:
Nadine Angerer (Germany/Brisbane Roar/Portland Thorns)
Ramona Bachmann (Switzerland/FC Rosengård)
Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada/West Virginia University)
Amandine Henry (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
Eugénie Le Sommer (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
Carli Lloyd (USA/Houston Dash)
Aya Miyama (Japan/Okayama Yunogo Belle)
Megan Rapinoe (USA/Seattle Reign)
Célia Šašić (Germany/1.FFC Frankfurt)
Hope Solo (USA/Seattle Reign).
Calle Barrling (Sweden/Swedish U-19 national team)
Colin Bell (England/1.FFC Frankfurt)
Farid Benstiti (France/Paris Saint-Germain)
Jill Ellis (USA/USA national team)
Laura Harvey (England/Seattle Reign)
John Herdman (England/Canadian national team)
Gérard Prêcheur (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
Mark Sampson (Wales/English national team)
Norio Sasaki (Japan/Japanese national team)
Thomas Wörle (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)