Carli Lloyd and Jill Ellis remain in contention to repeat as The Best FIFA Women’s Player and Coach respectively after the sport’s global governing body announced the three finalists for each on Friday. Lloyd is joined by Germany’s Melanie Behringer and Brazil’s Marta. Ellis is up against Germany’s Silvia Neid and Sweden’s Pia Sundhage.
The inclusion of Lloyd and Ellis will be sure to draw red flags after the United States failed to advance past the quarterfinals at the Olympics, marking the first major global event that has ever happened. But they went out on penalties to Sweden meaning the match went in the books as a draw, and indeed the U.S. went the entirety of 2016 without taking an official loss. Ellis’s side also defeated England, France, and Germany in March to win the maiden SheBelieves Cup with a perfect record.
Lloyd scored 17 goals on the year including two hat tricks. She also notched goals against New Zealand and France in the first two group matches at the Olympics. Lloyd’s domestic season was interrupted by injury but she did score 5 goals for the Dash in only seven appearances.
Marta, who monopolized the award for the five year period 2006-2010, led a spirited Brazil effort in front of the home fans in and around Rio de Janeiro. They wound up losing to Sweden on penalties in the semifinals in much the same manner as the U.S. did a round earlier. The Brazilians were then frozen off the podium when they dropped the Bronze Medal match to Canada. On the club scene Marta’s Rosengard were unseated as Swedish champions and crashed out of the UEFA Women’s Champions League on penalties to Frankfurt in the last eight.
Behringer scored Germany’s Olympic quarterfinal winner against China, a step on the way to winning the side’s first Gold Medal. She also helped Bayern Munich to repeat as champions of Germany.
Neid won Olympic gold in her final tournament as head coach of Germany. She defeated Sundhage’s Sweden in the Gold Medal match. Sundhage was equal parts praised and pounded for the defensive tactics she employed which helped Sweden play the United States and Brazil to stalemates. Sweden won both matches on penalties. Neid previously won the award in 2010 and 2013. Sundhage won in 2012 when she coached the U.S. to a third straight Olympic gold.
The winners will be announced January 9 in Zurich.