FIFA announced its top 10 list of nominees for the Best Women’s Player of the Year award. Australia international and Sky Blue FC star striker Sam Kerr was one of the players nominated for the highest prize in women’s soccer.
Although the award takes into consideration a player’s performance from November 20, 2016 to August 7, 2017, this year has undoubtedly been the best of Kerr’s career. Ahead of the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season, the forward scored 10 goals and recorded four assists to help lead her Australian W-League side, Perth Glory—which included Sky Blue FC teammate Nikki Stanton—to their second Grand Final appearance, only to fall to reigning champions Melbourne City. Despite not winning the title with her team, Kerr was awarded the Julie Dolan Medal for Most Valuable Player in the entire league.
Returning to New Jersey and her NWSL club Sky Blue, Kerr embarked upon an impressive scoring run that has kept the team in playoff contention despite a myriad of injuries and setbacks. She set a Sky Blue scoring record, as well as a new league record for all-time NWSL goals (37). She also currently sits second in the league in goals scored (11), tied with Orlando Pride’s Marta and just one behind Seattle Reign’s Megan Rapinoe.
Her most notable performance of the season came on July 8 when she scored a hat trick in just 12 minutes to lift Sky Blue over visiting FC Kansas City, 3-2. That performance earned her the NWSL Player of the Week award for the second time this season. She’s also won back-to-back Player of the Month awards (May and June) and three consecutive Team of the Month honors (May-July).
Internationally, Kerr recently led Australia in their win of the inaugural Tournament of Nations, hosted by the United States women’s national team (USWNT). In their opening match, the Matildas defeated the US, 1-0, handing them their first ever win over the host nation. Although Kerr did not score in that tournament opener, she did score not once but three times in Australia’s 4-2 win over Japan, her first ever international hat trick, and tallied a goal and two assists in the team’s 6-1 win over Brazil.
Kerr is accompanied in the top 10 by USWNT midfielder and two-time reigning Player of the Year Carli Lloyd, as well 2017 European Championship winners Lieke Martens and Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands, and Pernille Harder, captain of EURO runners-up Denmark. Some of the biggest names of the women’s international game—Lucy Bronze, Wendie Renard and Dzsenifer Marozsan—were also nominated.
The list of nominees was decided on by a panel of six women’s soccer “experts,” including former USWNT forward and World Cup champion Mia Hamm. New Zealand’s Maia Jackman, Germany’s Nadine Kessler, Namibia’s Jacqui Shibanga, Brazil’s Sissi and China’s Sun Wen were also part of the panel organized by FIFA.
Voting for the award begins on Monday, August 21 and closes on September 7. Fans, coaches, team captains, and select members of the media will vote, with each section of voters holding 25 percent of the total vote. From that the three players with the most votes will be named finalists for the award mid-September. The winner will be announced in the annual FIFA awards ceremony, this year held in London, on Monday, October 23.
The complete list of 2017 Best Women’s Player nominees is below. Fans can vote here once voting is opened.
Lucy Bronze (ENG - Manchester City Women)
Deyna Castellanos (VEN - Santa Clarita Blue Heat/Florida State University)
Pernille Harder (DEN - Linkopings / VfL Wolfsburg (Women))
Sam Kerr (AUS - Perth Glory / Sky Blue FC)
Carli Lloyd (USA - Houston Dash / Manchester City Women)
Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER - Olympique Lyonnais Feminin)
Lieke Martens (NED - FC Barcelona Femeni)
Vivianne Miedema (NED - FC Bayern Munich Frauen)
Wendie Renard (FRA - Olympique Lyonnais Feminin)
Jodie Taylor (ENG - Arsenal Women)