ORLANDO, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2017) – U.S. Soccer has announced the five nominees for the 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award, with Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan tabbed as one of this years nominees. This year’s field also features midfielders Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC) and Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage) and forward and Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC).
All five players played prominent roles during 2017 which featured a 16-game schedule and matches against seven of the other nine teams in the top-10 of the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, making this year's slate of games the most challenging ever in the year after the World Cup/Olympic cycle.
Finishing on a hot streak, Morgan and Ertz topped the list of goal scorers for the WNT this year with seven and six goals, respectively. All their goals came in the final eight games of 2017.
Morgan, 28, joined the Pride in July on the heels of a Champions League and Division 1 Féminine title with French club Olympique Lyonnais. The 2012 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year winner went on to feature in 13 matches for Orlando, scoring nine goals and adding four assists and led the Pride to its first playoff appearance. Morgan scored in each of the Pride games during the month of August – a five game goal-scoring streak – which included all three of her 2017 game-winning goals. Morgan went on to be named NWSL Player of the Month for the month of August.
Rapinoe (five) and Horan (four) were tops on the U.S. WNT in assists. Rapinoe also scored three times while Horan had one goal. For Mewis, 2017 represented a year of growth that saw the 25-year-old become a leader in the center of the midfield while starting every match and playing the second-most minutes on the team. All five players had excellent NWSL seasons as well, with Mewis being named to the NWSL Best XI. The other four nominees were all named to the NWSL Second XI.
A new voting process was put in place starting in 2014. Votes will be collected from National Team coaches and staff, WNT players who have earned a cap in 2017, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council, National Women’s Soccer League coaches, select college head coaches and select media members.
Only one of the nominees has won the award before, with Morgan earning the honor in 2012. Julie Ertz (neé Johnston) and Lindsey Horan have previously received the Young Female Player of the Year award, with Ertz winning in 2012 and Horan in 2013.
Abby Wambach holds the record for most Female Player of the Year awards with six honors (2003, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2013). Her win in 2013 broke the previous record of five held by Mia Hamm.
The U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year has been awarded since 1985, when midfielder Sharon Remer (known then as Sharon McMurtry) earned the inaugural honor.