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Wednesday Roundup: Morgan, Harris nab CONCACAF honors

Ashlyn Harris has won her second CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year honor. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Also in today’s roundup, Carli Lloyd joins Obama administration, the Reign bring back Merritt Mathias and Michelle Heyman is up for a very special award

Ashlyn Harris has won her second CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year honor. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Ashlyn Harris has won her second CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year honor. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Alex Morgan was named CONCACAF Female Player of the Year on Wednesday. Additionally Ashlyn Harris was named the region’s Goalkeeper of the Year and that pair was joined by seven other U.S.-based players on the Best XI. U.S. coach Jill Ellis was bested for Coach of the Year by Amelia Valverde of Costa Rica.

The vote was an evenly balanced split between CONCACAF member nation’s coaches and captains, media and fans.

{MORE: Heather O’Reilly officially joins Arsenal; NWSL return up in air}

Joining Harris and Morgan on the Best XI are: NWSL players Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath and Christine Sinclair. Canadians Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence, who were both seniors at West Virginia last fall, were also included. The final two are Costa Ricans Gloriana Villalobos and Shirley Cruz.

Crystal Dunn, who finished third in Player of the Year voting (Heath was second), did not make the Best XI.

Morgan scored 17 goals for the U.S. in 2016, tied for most of the team. Two of those goals were in the Olympics including the equalizer in an eventual penalty kick loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals. Harris was the alternate keeper at the Olympics but made a series of spectacular saves during her first season with the Orlando Pride where she was Morgan’s teammate. The individual awards were the second for both Morgan and Harris.

Lloyd named to obama administration post

150705 Carli LloydOutgoing president Barack Obama named Carli Lloyd as Member and Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. The announcement of several new administration posts came Tuesday. Among athletes named to the same position were basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, gymnastics gold medalist Gabby Douglas and U.S. hockey star Caitlin Cahow.

Also on Wednesday, Lloyd was named to the New Jersey Hall of Fame. The Delran Township native starred at Rutgers before going on to achieve great heights with the U.S. national team. Lloyd’s hat trick in the 2015 World Cup final was a transcendent moment for women’s soccer. The New Jersey Hall of Fame is not specific to sports, but Lloyd is joined by several athletes including former New York Liberty president and general manager Carol Blazejowski.

Earlier this month Lloyd was named FIFA Female Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Reign re-sign Merritt Mathias

Merritt Mathias fight off a trio of Washington Spirit defenders (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Merritt Mathias fight off a trio of Washington Spirit defenders (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Seattle Reign FC and Merritt Mathias have come together on a new contract for the 2017 season. This will be Mathias’s third season in Seattle after two at FC Kansas City. She was traded to the Reign in November 2014 for Kate Deines.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Seattle for my fifth season in the NWSL,” said Mathias. “I love everything about this organization and consider Seattle my second home. I’m really looking forward to what this season has in store for myself and the team. As always, let it reign!”

{NWSL NEWS: Pride acquire No. 14 pick Rachel Hill from Thorns}

In four seasons Mathias has appeared in 79 regular season matches and has 5 goals and 7 assists. She has also started all five playoff games her teams have been in. Mathias has an NWSL Championship with FC Kansas City in 2014 and an NWSL Shield with the Reign in 2015. Last fall she was called into camp with the U.S. national team but did not receive a cap.

“Merritt is someone that has been a huge part of the team now for the last two seasons,” said Seattle Reign FC head coach and general manager Laura Harvey. “She’s played in multiple positions which is a huge testament to her ability. When you have such a small squad, when you have someone that can play multiple positions, it’s huge.”

Harvey has complimented Mathias for her defensive presence and used her as an example during her Defending from the Front panel at the 2016 NSCAA Convention.

Tuesday the Reign announced that Kendall Fletcher was starting ministry school in Australia and would not be returning.

Michelle Heyman up for LGBTI award

Getty Images

Getty Images

Australian national team player Michelle Heyman, who played briefly for the Western New York Flash, has been nominated for sports personality of the year at the inaugural Australian LGBTI awards.

“Me being nominated for this award is one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me,” Heyman told Caden Helmers of The Canberra Times. Heyman is co-captain of W-League side Canberra United.

Heyman takes great pride in just being herself and has been overwhelmed by how much support she has received just for that alone. According to Helmers’s article she was the only openly gay athlete in the Australian contingent at the Rio Olympics.

The LGBTI awards ceremony will take place March 2 at the Sydney Opera House.

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