The often-overlooked Becky Saurbrunn has been named among a list of five players for the second BBC Women’s World Player of the Year award.
The Word Cup winning defender missed out on the shortlist for the Women’s Ballon d’Or and the team of the tournament at last year’s World Cup, but she joins a list for the award that includes Word Player of the Year Carli Lloyd, Seattle Reign’s Kim Little, soon to be Portland Thorn Amandine Henry, and Cameroon international, Gaelle Enganamouit.
A select panel of journalists from across the globe compiled the shortlist, with the winner decided by a public vote that is now open.
On being nominated, Saurbrunn said: “It’s really surprising, but it’s such an honor to be in that kind of company with those players because I think of them as just absolute world class. So you know every time I play against them I’m just kind of thinking ‘man these people, these ladies are really, really good,’ so to be up there and have my name with theirs it’s wonderful, it’s really unexpected.”
Carli Lloyd will be looking to add to her World Player of the Year award she collected in January, as well as the Golden Ball she achieved at the World Cup following a breath-taking hat-trick in the final and a run of impressive performances in the knockout stages.
Lloyd, much like her U.S. teammate Sauerbrunn, was delighted to be nominated, saying: “It’s an honor, every award I know has been a testament to the team’s success because, without the team, I wouldn’t be here. Also, just individually knowing that it hasn’t been an easy road – it’s taken a lot of work, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of heartache – but its been worth it and I’m just truly honored.”
Soon to be Portland Thorn Amandine Henry was without question the best player in her position in 2015, anchoring the France midfield brilliantly at the World Cup, as well as helping her club Lyon to yet another league and cup double. In addition, she was the winner of the Silver Ball in Canada last year, coming second to Lloyd following her blistering performances.
Henry was humble in receiving her nomination for the award, saying: “I’m not really used to getting individual awards. I have a role on the field where I don’t score goals, it’s a role that’s a little bit in the shadows so to be singled out among these great players, [I keep saying to myself wow] this is incredible.”
Little once again showed her credentials for Seattle last year in helping to guide her team to the NWSL Championship game, while she also won the W-League’s Players’ Player of the Year in Australia after helping Melbourne City claim the league title in the club’s inaugural season.
Named NWSL MVP in 2014, many expected Little to be front runner for the BBC award last year, but she lost out to Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala for the inaugural award,
In with a second chance of winning following her shortlisting, the Reign midfielder said: “It’s extremely nice to be nominated again for this award. Although I’m sure that all the players that are nominated say it’s a team sport, you know everyone contributes, so of course it’s nice to be individually recognized.”
The only African representative, Enganamouit was prolific for little fancied Eskilstuna United in Sweden last year, finishing the league’s top scorer and helping her club clinch a surprise Champions League place, earning her a move to FC Rosengaard.
She was named African Player of the Year in 2015 for her performances for both club and country, with the highlight no doubt being her hat trick for Cameroon against Ecuador in last year’s World Cup.
Responding to the news of her nomination, she said: “I’m happy to be nominated for the BBC award – I feel good, I think it’s one more motivation to me to keep working hard to play good football.”
Voting is now open on the BBC Sport website to the public and will close on Monday 9 May at 4 a.m. EDT.
The winner of the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2016 will be revealed on Tuesday 24 May 2016 during Sport Today on BBC World Service at 1130-1200 ET, on BBC World News and online bbc.com/womensfootball and on BBC social media channels.