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USA dominates FIFA Best nominees for 2019

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Four Americans are on the list of 12.

United States of America v Netherlands : Final - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

The World Cup hype is fading away, which means it’s time for FIFA’s Best awards. FIFA announced the nominees for their best-of awards today, with four Americans on the list of best female player. Instead of a list of 10, there are 12 this year, as Best rules allow for the list to be expanded in case of a points tie from the nominating committee. They are:

Lucy Bronze (ENG) – Olympique Lyonnais
Julie Ertz (USA) – Chicago Red Stars
Caroline Graham Hansen (NOR) – Wolfsburg / FC Barcelona
Ada Hegerberg (NOR) – Olympique Lyonnais
Amandine Henry (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
Sam Kerr (AUS) – Chicago Red Stars / Perth Glory
Rose Lavelle (USA) – Washington Spirit
Vivianne Miedema (NED) – Arsenal
Alex Morgan (USA) – Orlando Pride
Megan Rapinoe (USA) – Reign FC
Wendie Renard (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
Ellen White (ENG) – Birmingham City / Manchester City

Only one American made the list of nominees for coaches, although she certainly comes to that list with an ace up her sleeve in the form of a World Cup trophy.

Milena Bertolini (ITA) – Italy national team
Jill Ellis (USA) – USA national team
Peter Gerhardsson (SWE) – Sweden national team
Futoshi Ikeda (JPN) – Japan U-20 national team
Antonia Is (ESP) – Spain U-17 national team
Joe Montemurro (AUS) – Arsenal
Phil Neville (ENG) – England national team
Reynald Pedros (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
Paul Riley (ENG) – North Carolina Courage
Sarina Wiegman (NED) – Netherlands national team

Best voting is made up of four groups: team captains, coaches, media, and fans. This year’s panel of experts selecting the nominee list was:

Rae Dower (AUS)
Nadine Kessler (GER)
Kristine Lilly (USA)
Portia Modise (RSA)
Aline Pellegrino (BRA)
Aya Miayma (JPN)
Thuba Sibanda (ZIM)
Kelly Smith (ENG)
Rhian Wilkinson (CAN)
Kirsty Yallop (NZL)

Last year’s Best player was Marta, with Megan Rapinoe the only American to crack the list of 10 nominees. Reynald Pedros won Best coach last year, while Ellis was not among the nominees.

Although the voting period for the women’s awards is supposed to encompass all accomplishments for club and country (as well as “overall behavior on and off the pitch”) from May 25, 2018 to July 7, 2019, realistically, the World Cup is going to weigh things heavily in voters’ minds. So Ada Hegerberg, while making the list despite her absence from the World Cup, is not likely to pick up tons of votes based solely on club performance.

On the flip side, that does mean the Americans in the pool probably have the advantage, particularly Megan Rapinoe, who will also benefit from sheer name recognition. People from smaller footballing nations who simply can’t or don’t follow women’s soccer that closely tend to vote for the names they’ve heard of, which would probably put Rapinoe and Alex Morgan in front of Julie Ertz and Rose Lavelle in terms of votes. As for Jill Ellis, between winning the World Cup and stepping down from her head coach position this year, she may be the front runner whether she deserves it or not.

What do you think? Will an American win the award? Should an American win it? Whose club performance is going to get overshadowed by the World Cup? Let us know in the comments below.