Alex Morgan wins the 2016 CONCACAF Female Player of the Year Award. A look at her competition and the other award winners.
The following tables were sourced from here. The final ballet voting resulted in Morgan, Heath and Dunn taking the top three spots.
Player of the Year
Honestly, if I were a gambling person, I would have bet on Tobin Heath winning the vote. Heath was the best player statistically in the quarterfinal loss to Sweden. But, honestly, Sinclair statistically was the best player of the CONCACAF group, but is once again not recognized by the voting community.
Statistically, in the NWSL, Crystal Dunn was by far the best forward in the league, even better than MVP Lynn Williams. So, therefore Dunn deservedly earned third place overall. Carli Lloyd somehow won FIFA Player of the Year, but appears to be ranked fifth here. This is further confusing evidence that Lloyd was not the best player in her confederation, but somehow the best player in the world.
Morgan winning this award is a bit of a surprise for me. I would have went with:
Dunn and Heath are being pretty much a coin flip, but slight edge to Heath as she had the better performance in the Quarterfinal loss to Sweden. But Sinclair should have easily won this award.
Goalkeeper of the Year
How in the world is Hope Solo not on this list at all? The U.S. Soccer Federation seems to have purged Solo from existence in 2016. Shortly after winning her record 100th international clean sheet, she was definitely punished for her comments.
Harris was an alternate to the Rio Olympics, seemingly the third best goalkeeper of the U.S., but is now best goalkeeper of CONCACAF? With the sometimes poor backline play of the Orlando Pride, Harris was forced into several ridiculous saves for her NWSL club. And she was the best goalkeeper in the NWSL, winning the league award, and by my statistics. However, if you are not representing your country at the Olympics or World Cup, it is difficult to see how someone could win the award.
My goalkeeper list:
Coach of the Year
Again, where is John Herdman? Did he fall into the Bermuda Triangle while calling Swedish players “cowards”? There is no reason not to have him on the list. Using the theory that the coaches have to be female is fine, but then Herdman should have been included with the male coach finalists, and he was not there either.
My coach of the year list:
- The winner of French versus Ellis versus Harvey in a “rock-paper-scissors” battle.
Outstanding Performance Award
At least they got something right! Canada went from tenth place to fourth place this year in the FIFA rankings. But why does this progression not show elsewhere in the player/coach ballots?
Referee of the Year
|Carol Anne Chenard
|Costa Rica (Assistant Referee)
|Marie Soleil Beaudoin
|Melissa Borjas Pastrana
|Jamaica (Assistant Referee)
|Honduras (Assistant Referee
I listed referees because they are under-recognized. But honestly, soccer like all sports, if you recognize the referee, then they must be doing a poor job. The best referees are the ones you never notice. I have seen Koroleva from time to time and I think she does a good job.
The defender list looks reasonable.
It is a little unusual that Krieger is recognized here, but infamously sat on the bench during the Rio Olympics, especially during the Sweden loss. However, Krieger was statistically one of the best defenders in the NWSL, and the voters correctly recognized that. Sauerbrunn definitely deserves to be on the list.
Buchanan is slightly overrated as she has a “yellow card” problem, but is still a good defender. Lawrence did reasonably well in 2016 from converting to defender from an attacking position in 2015. Other players considered like Allysha Chapman, Shelina Zadorski, or Julie Johnston were all average defenders in NWSL league play, and would probably not be considered any better than those selected.
Lack of data for the Costa Rica players…
Villalobos and Cruz represent Costa Rica. Villalobos did not appear to do much in 2016, so I am not sure why she was included on the list. The same goes for Cruz. However, Costa Rica did play several matches in 2016. But information for each game is scarce. The Costa Rican fans voted in force for their players to get onto the Final XI list. Overall, a lack of data or coverage, leaves it impossible to fairly judge these players.
My CONCACAF Players Best XI list:
- Desiree Scott
- Lynn Williams/ Alex Morgan
- I would have put Lynn Williams on the forward list as she was NWSL MVP. But she did not go to the Olympics, so Morgan may be the better choice. However, I have several articles on why coach Jill Ellis blundered at the Olympics this past year, so I would have included Williams on the starting roster there. But I also cannot rule out Mallory Pugh either.
- Desiree Scott is the best defensive midfielder on any of the CONCACAF national teams.
- How can be that Dunn is ranked third overall (see the first list above), but not make the Best XI?
- I would pick one of Cruz, Villalobos, or “Rocky” Rodriguez as a final midfielder spot to represent Costa Rica.
- Overall, the CONCACAF awards were disappointing as most players were not deserving of their awards along with some surprising omissions, most notably Hope Solo.
- Alex Morgan was a huge surprise winning the overall award, but Sinclair was much more deserving. Tobin Heath earned second place for her performance at the Olympics.
- Coach John Herdman is once again NOT recognized as a brilliant coach.
- FIFA and CONCACAF, and I assume the other soccer confederations, need to look at fixing these awards that simply reward the best known player that year. I am sure that if you put retired people such as Mia Hamm or Abby Wambach on these ballots, they could probably still win an award. They should make sure that the list contains only players who deserve these awards. That would start with statistical analysis of all the players internationally and at club level.