The FIFA Best list of nominees for 2017 is out, and once again Carli Lloyd has been chosen by a panel of experts as a candidate.
The full list of candidates:
Lucy Bronze (ENG)
Pernille Harder (DEN)
Deyna Castellanos (VEN)
Carli Lloyd (USA)
Sam Kerr (AUS)
Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER)
Lieke Martens (NED)
Vivianne Miedema (NED)
Wendie Renard (FRA)
Jodie Taylor (ENG)
The women’s shortlist was picked by a panel of women with expertise in the game.
Carli Lloyd won the 2016 award on the back of her critical 2015 World Cup final performance.
Voting will now be carried out by national team coaches and captains, a media representative from each country, and a fan vote, which opens on August 21.
You can see that the list for 2017 is heavily weighted towards Europeans who competed in the Euros. The Netherlands took the trophy this year with an impressive midfield contingent, but Harder, Bronze, and Taylor were all instrumental to their countries advancing. Marozsan and Renard might find their odds reduced due to their respective countries’ underwhelming performances, resulting in early departures for both of them.
Sam Kerr is also a very deserving name on the list; she’s probably in the best form of her life so far, scoring goals by the fistful for both her club Sky Blue FC and for Australia, who just dominated the heck out of the Tournament of Nations. Kerr is a young player who, if she continues to develop along this path, will certainly be a mainstay on the list for years to come and should probably win the award at some point.
As for Lloyd, without a major competition for the United States this year (and the failure of the Olympics being their last one), it’s not hard to argue she shouldn’t make the final three, let alone win the award. Of course she’s played plenty for the WNT and for her clubs and her performance there has ranged from acceptable to very good, but voting in the women’s game is especially influenced by big tournaments due to the lack of coverage outside of those events.
Where Lloyd may actually pick up some votes is on name recognition. That same lack of coverage can create an imbalance wherein the player with the biggest name tends to get votes from smaller footballing nations that just don’t have the resources to follow every aspect of the game. So the coaches, captains, and media from those nations pick the names they know.
But the game is growing and the 2017 Euros are a great example of that - The Netherlands put on a fantastic tournament with good coverage across Europe, and when the home team won, thousands of people attended their celebration rally. So 2017 could be an interesting year in terms of who will make the shortlist of three players and who actually wins.