Carli Lloyd Undeservedly Wins FIFA Women’s Player of Year


Carli Lloyd somehow managed to be FIFA Player of the Year for 2016, despite not being the best player for her club, country, or confederation.

FIFA needs to change the way it handles voting for the Women’s Player of the Year. The organization has shown no respect for the women’s soccer game. And may never be able to solve problems within the historically corrupt organization.

Can we fix this mess that is called FIFA, please?

Let’s start from the beginning, and look at the 10 finalists for the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year. From FIFA’s site, here were the 10 finalists.

The candidates, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Camille Abily (France/Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Melanie Behringer (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
  • Sara Däbritz (Germany/FC Bayern Munich)
  • Amandine Henry (France/Portland Thorns)
  • Saki Kumagai (Japan/Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Carli Lloyd (USA/Houston Dash)
  • Dzsenifer Marozsán (Germany/1. FFC Frankfurt/Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Marta (Brazil/FC Rosengård)
  • Lotta Schelin (Sweden/Olympique Lyonnais/ FC Rosengård)
  • Christine Sinclair (Canada/Portland Thorns).

The list has several issues.

  1. Six of ten players are from Europe.
  2. No goalkeepers.
  3. Only one defender.
  4. There are two French players, and three German players.
  5. Olympique Lyonnais has four players. Bayern Munich has two players. FC Rosengard has two players.

Why the structure of the list is flawed

  1. There are 6 FIFA soccer confederations on this planet. At least one player from each confederation should be represented. Europe is not the only continent on earth, nor is UEFA the only soccer confederation. Maybe it has to do with Zurich being their headquarters
  2. For items two and three above, goal scorers are not the only players on the field. Defenders and goalkeepers should also be given more consideration. Perhaps a minimum of two defenders and two goalkeepers should be included in the final ten list. Not the entire process is a bit shrouded, this site indicates that are 35 players on a preliminary list. However, I cannot find the list anywhere, but Wikipedia seems to support that claim. So, it seems that FIFA makes this preliminary list, and then pare it down to the final 10.
  3. There should be only one player per country and club. How can you be the best player in the world if you are not even the best player from your country or your club? More than one player implies uncertainty about the players selected are not even the best players from their own country or team.

At least FIFA shows how the journalists, coaches, and team captains voted during the process. Also, this is the first year that fans were allowed to be 25% of the vote.

I believe that Ms. Lloyd had even commended that she did not vote for herself. Well, she could not vote for herself. Nor could the coaches vote for themselves either. But it appeared that there was a lot of coaches and players voting for each other even though they were not the best candidate. What is the sense of having an election if you are not choosing the right candidates?

Here is each player’s club goals, international friendly goals (including Olympic qualifier goals), and 2016 Rio Olympic goals:

FIFA FinalistClubTeamFriendlyOlympicYearly

The problem with data above data, is it even correct? Why can’t FIFA put the data on the page I linked above? I spent over an hour researching each player’s stats and had to go through several Wikipedia pages, Soccerway, ESPN, FoxSports,  FIFA and look at other  websites to try to get an estimate of the above data. So, if I am not sure about the data I have, then I have to assume that in general not much effort was put forth to properly research before people filled out the ballots. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that most fans who voted used ANY data in making their determination. Much less, all the team captains, coaches, and media members who voted.

The obvious takeaways from the above data:

  1. Melanie Behringer scored 5 goals at the Rio Olympics, by far the most important games in 2016. And she helped Germany win a gold medal at the Rio Olympics.
  2. Christine Sinclair scored the most combined goals of the players above. And also helped her team win a bronze medal at the Olympics.

The vote percentages:

Okay, no offense to Lloyd, but she had no business being the ballot in the first place. She was not even the best player on her club team, the Houston Dash. Kealia O’Hai was. Was Lloyd the best player on the field the day Sweden beat the U.S. in penalty kicks? No, her name is Tobin Heath. Can Lloyd even claim to be the best U.S. player this year? I doubt it. She scored 6 goals against “powerhouses” Thailand and Ireland. Scoring goals against lesser opponents is “padding your stats”. It is no different from a baseball player trying to hit a home run when their team is ahead by 10 runs. It is wrong.

Did Carli Lloyd  even score the most goals at the  the at the Olympics? Nope, she has the name of Melanie Behringer.

So, let me get this straight. Lloyd was not the best player for her club, might not be the best player for her country, nor helped win her country a gold medal at the Olympics, definitely second best to CONCACAF’s Sinclair, but is somehow voted the “best player on earth”?

The 2016 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year should have been Behringer or Sinclair

FIFA should look at the statistics before putting someone on a ballot. Just because a name is on the ballot does not mean that it is the right choice. And besides, defenders and goalkeepers play soccer too. However, if they do look at statistics, it had better be more than just goals scored. With the millions of dollars that FIFA has, it seems like they could invest in someone to perform statistical analysis for the international games and require league to provide similar data. Passing efficiency, defensive statistics, and goalkeeping statistics should all be used in evaluating the players. Just because you score goals, does not mean you can efficiently pass to your teammates.

Maybe we should have a “Best 11” and forget who is the “best”, especially, if the best players are not even close to being selected.

But the problem with fan voting is now that countries with smaller populations such as Canada will not have a chance. European and American fans might be outraged someday if China has a superstar and 1.7 billion fans vote for her.

At least, they almost got the Coaches right…

And don’t get me started on JOHN HERDMAN! Canada jumps 6 places in FIFA rankings and he is not the best coach in the world? At least Sylvia Neid also deserves to be Coach of The Year, because she won the Olympic gold medal. But Jill Ellis was probably the third best coach in CONCACAF, and is somehow second best in the world, ahead of the coach who beat her at the Olympics?

Why does not anyone like Canada?

Maybe they haven’t paid their bribes lately. Honesty gets you nowhere fast lately. Am I accusing Carli Lloyd and U.S. Soccer of bribery or some other corruption scheme to get Lloyd this award? No, but how was she a finalist to begin with? Did FIFA make up some sort of funny seeding rank to get what they want?

FIFA must improve the way they do things, or they might find they people might start watching other sports. I have not watched the U.S. Men’s National Team since their disgraceful performance in the 1998 World Cup. There are also other reasons why I do not watch men’s soccer. But I had watched dozens of games in the 1994 World Cup previously. I was one of few soccer fans in the USA back in the 1980’s, and now have not watched a men’s game in over a decade. I can find another hobby if FIFA continues its shoddy treatment of the women’s game.

Next: A Complete Review of January 11th’s MLS Transfer Rumors and Dealings

Carli Lloyd should give her award to Behringer.

So, who do think should have won the 2016 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year? Women’s soccer cannot afford to lose more fans.