Members of the U.S. national women’s soccer team were well-represented at The Best FIFA Football Awards, with Megan Rapinoe named Best FIFA Women’s Player, Jill Ellis named Best FIFA Women’s Coach and five players included on the Women’s World11 roster at the awards ceremony in Milan, Italy, on Monday.
Teammate Alex Morgan and England’s Lucy Bronze were both finalists for the best player award.
“They don’t tell you how heavy it is,” Rapinoe said. “(Best FIFA Men’s Player Lionel) Messi could have given me a heads up, he’s had it so many times.”
Rapinoe totaled six goals and three assists in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and went on to win the Golden Boot for top scorer and Golden Ball for best player.
Rapinoe said she was at a loss for words, then thanked her family, friends and girlfriend for their support over the past year as well as the coaching staff and her teammates.
“They put up with all my (stuff) all the time and let me be a little wild at times, but they also reel me in when I need that,” Rapinoe said. “Thank you to all of them currently and all of them that I played with in the past.”
Calling it an incredible year for women’s soccer, Rapinoe went on to urge the people in the room to use their power to help change the sport and the world for the better by fighting racism and homophobia and promoting equality.
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Ellis was named best women’s coach over fellow finalists Phil Neville, who coaches England, and Sarina Wiegman, who coaches the Netherlands. Ellis, who is stepping down in October, became the first head coach to win two women’s World Cups.
“I’d like to thank my spectacular players,” she said. “They are truly amazing. They are the best. As coaches we all know without the talent and the commitment and the dedication of our players, we don’t achieve these trophies. They are certainly team awards.”
Ellis also thanked her staff for helping keep the team together, motivated and healthy, as well as her wife and daughter and her parents, who were in attendance.
Five U.S. players were named to the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World11, as voted on by thousands of players from across the world. They were defender Kelley O’Hara, midfielders Julie Ertz and Rose Lavelle, and forwards Rapinoe and Morgan.
The awards were based on the nominees’ respective achievements between May 25, 2018 and July 7, 2019.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.