Morgan, Wambach Lead U.S. Ballon d'Or Hopes
October 25, 2012
Four members of the gold-medal winning United States women's national team made the shortlist for the 2012 Ballon d’Or award. Forwards Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan along with midfielders Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe will try to become the first American woman since Mia Hamm in 2002 to win the award. Canada’s Christine Sinclair, Brazil’s Marta, France’s Camille Abily, and the Japanese trio of Homare Sawa, Aya Miyama, and goalkeeper Miho Fukumoto were the other six women named.
The notable American snub was goalkeeper Hope Solo. The netminder had 16 saves and conceded six goals at this summer’s Olympic Games, helping the U.S. to its third consecutive Olympic Gold. Her absence from the final 10 is especially surprising considering the presence of Fukumoto.
Wambach and Morgan are the clear frontrunners in the field. After breaking out at last summer’s Women’s World Cup, Morgan evolved into a more complete player in 2012, and put up the stats to prove it. She has 24 goals and 18 assists to date. Two more assists will put her in rare company with Hamm as the only U.S. women’s player to notch 20 goals and 20 assists. Wambach is one goal shy of Morgan with 23 goals, and only 10 behind Hamm for most international goals all time. She finished third last year behind Marta and Sawa.There is a chance, however, that the two American stars could split votes, allowing Sinclair or Aya Miyama to finish on top of the polls. Pia Sundhage and American U-20 head coach Steve Swanson were on the shortlist of coaches.
National team coaches and captains and invited journalists will vote, with FIFA announcing the top three on November 29. The winner will be announced on January 7, 2013.