US Soccer has announced their five nominees for 2018 female player of the year:
It’s been a standout year for some of these players - the US midfield has now come to rely heavily on Horan’s presence, and both Heath and Rapinoe have been crucial components in the top of Ellis’ 4-3-3. Morgan, of course, scored 18 goals in 19 games. Ertz was a mostly steady presence at DM, but especially compared to her 2017, she may not be the frontrunner in this year’s pack.
For club, Horan and Heath were anchors for the Portland Thorns in guiding them to the championship game, while Rapinoe had seven goals and six assists with the Seattle Reign. Ertz was once again an important part of the Chicago Red Stars’ spine, but Morgan had a bit of a muted season with the Orlando Pride, tallying five goals and two assists in 19 games.
Player of the year is voted on by men’s, women’s, and youth NT coaches and staff; NT players who have earned a cap in 2018; MLS, NASL, USL, and NWSL head coaches and some former players; administrators; and media members. The winners will be announced in the first week of December.
Of the five nominees, Ertz, Heath, and Morgan have all won the award in years previously. Morgan won in 2012 when she blew the roof off with her then-28 goals and 19 assists, although she would ultimately go on to accumulate 21 assists for the year, putting her amongst elite company as only the second USWNT player after Mia Hamm to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists in one year. Coincidentally enough, Julie Ertz was young player of the year in 2012.
Ertz also won player of the year in 2017 when she was the lynchpin of the midfield at DM, helping the US and the Chicago Red Stars look dominant whenever she was on the pitch, and adding six goals to her tally along the way.
Heath won in 2016 with six goals and eight assists for the NT and 10 assists in 14 games for the Thorns. She looked like she could hardly step on the pitch but she was setting up an assist all year long and seemed to finally fully come into her own as a leader on the field.
Who do you think should win 2018 player of the year?