French newspaper L’Équipe has released their list of 2019 Ballon d’Or nominees. There are 20 female nominees, mostly spanning the US and European countries. Of the 20, four Americans were nominated:
Kosovare Asllani (SWE / CD Tacon)
Sarah Bouhaddi (FRA / Lyon)
Lucy Bronze (ENG / Lyon)
Nilla Fischer (SWE / Linköpings)
Pernille Harder (DEN / VfL Wolfsburg)
Ada Hegerberg (NOR / Lyon)
Tobin Heath (USA / Portland) Thorns)
Amandine Henry (FRA / Lyon)
Sofia Jakobsson (SWE / CD Tacon)
Sam Kerr (AUS / Chicago Red Stars)
Rose Lavelle (USA / Washington Spirit)
Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER / Lyon)
Marta (BRA / Orlando Pride)
Lieke Martens (NED / FC Barcelona)
Viviane Miedema (NED / Arsenal)
Alex Morgan (USA / Orlando Pride)
Megan Rapinoe (USA / Reign FC)
Wendie Renard (FRA / Lyon)
Sari van Veenendal (NED / Atletico Madrid)
Ellen White (ENG / Manchester City)
The Ballon d’Or was merged with FIFA for several years, until they split again in 2016. Technically the women won the FIFA World Player of the Year and not a “Ballon d’Or” during this merger period, although colloquially the award was referred to that way. The official Ballon d’Or has only had a women’s category since 2018, when it went to Norway’s Ada Hegerberg.
Megan Rapinoe has already won the FIFA Best award this year based on the strength of her work in the World Cup and is probably the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or as well. But it is nice to see Rose Lavelle on this list, adding to her Bronze Ball from the World Cup. Lavelle is the future of the USWNT, and her return to regular play after a series of injuries and setbacks has, at times, been critical to the vitality of the US attack. We should be seeing her on lists like this for years to come (knock on wood).
It’s disappointing not to see Julie Ertz included here, as long as we’re talking American players who deserve recognition. She was the giving tree of the USWNT this year, basically turning herself into a stump in order to protect the back line and shore up the midfield. Conversely, this hasn’t been Tobin Heath’s best year ever, as she’s had some frustratingly unproductive games.