It's the cap to a banner year for Carli Lloyd: she has, unsurprisingly, made the final three for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year. Lloyd is in the running with Aya Miyama of Japan and Celia Sasic of Germany.
If you score a hat trick in a World Cup final, including a Puskas-nominated goal from midfield, then you're probably going to make the finalists for player of the year. Same for coaching a team to a World Cup win; it's just a given.
The only real question is if the voters will get sidetracked by the competition. Voting for finalists is done by the team captain, coach, and journalist representative from each FIFA member nation. Voters rank the three finalists, with five points for first, three points for second, and one point for third. In past years, it's been noted that points can sometimes go awry when members from nations with a small or nonexistent women's soccer presence simply vote for the names they recognize. This year, with such media hype around Lloyd and the United States as the World Cup winners, awareness of the candidates is probably at a higher level than before.
In the player category, Sasic is likely the one to be luring votes away from Lloyd, if any are lured at all. Though Miyama remains a class player with great vision in the midfield, in a World Cup year most attention falls on who individually stood out in the tournament, and Sasic and Lloyd both racked up six goals. Sasic also retired from soccer this year, drawing a little more attention to her career.
Still, Miyama received the Bronze Ball at the World Cup and was named to the FIFA Technical Study Group's All Star team for the tournament alongside Sasic and Lloyd, so it's not as though her work has gone entirely unrecognized.
On the coaching side, Jill Ellis is nearly a shoe-in for the award, with Sampson her closest competition. Though Sasaki once again coached Japan to a World Cup final, Sampson's journey with England perhaps stood out more for its unpredictability. Japan were expected to progress deep into the tournament. England were expected to go out in quarterfinals at best, even by their own media. Former England international and World Cup commentator Kelly Smith even said that the BBC "didn't really plan for them getting to the semifinal because they didn't budget for it."
Overall, Lloyd and Ellis are probably strong contenders to win, but as with all things FIFA, anything can happen.