Carli Lloyd has picked up the F.I.F.A. award for Women’s Player of the Year for her role as a star midfielder with the U.S. Women’s championship team in 2015. The 33-year-old Lloyd was joined on-stage her coach – and fellow award-winner for Coach of the Year – Jill Ellis at this year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland.
The awards, handed out today, gave the reigning World Cup champions a clean sweep of F.I.F.A.’s individual awards, according to the Los Angeles Times.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) January 11, 2016
“For so many years in my career I haven’t been recognized,” noted Lloyd, who almost forced F.I.F.A.’s hand in giving her the award after her critical three-goal swing in the opening 16 minutes of the U.S. team’s World Cup final against Japan. The tallies, not-so-coincidentally, gave Team U.S.A. its first World Cup championship in 16 years with a 5-2 win.
For Carli Lloyd, who admittedly spent her career by just going about her “business,” the nod is something about which she can truly be proud. Lloyd is just the third U.S. player to gain the recognition, after Mi Hamm and Abby Wambach.
“There have been others on our team – amazing players – that have had more of the recognition,” Lloyd continued. “There’s a lot of people that always ask me, ‘Why haven’t you had the recognition that you deserve?’ I guess it took scoring three goals in a World Cup final for people to start to know my name.”
— Abby Wambach (@AbbyWambach) January 11, 2016
Carli Lloyd finished the tournament with six goals in four elimination games, three of which game-winners. She also tallied 18 goals total last season, a personal best according to the Los Angeles Times.
Lloyd also picked up a Golden Ball Award at the time as the best player in the World Cup. She became the second player from the U.S. to notch this distinction, after Carin Jennings (1991).
Most-recently, the Delran, New Jersey native was also named U.S. team co-captain this past weekend, alongside defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
When all is said and done, however, Carli Lloyd will likely best be remembered for the hat trick against Japan in the World Cup final. It was that series of events that The UK Guardian noted Lloyd specifically envisioned “while she was doing sprints in training.”
The Guardian’s Caitlin Murray said the following.
[Lloyd’s] third, audacious goal is the one that will forever symbolize the pinnacle Lloyd reached in 2015. She cut around a defender, saw the Japanese goalkeeper off her line and launched a shot from the half-way line, a jaw-dropping goal fitting for a World Cup final.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi of the Argentine national team won the men’s version of the award, meanwhile, for the fifth time, while Luis Enrique, Messi’s club coach in Spain won Male Coach of the Year.
The winners were voted upon by a field of national coaches, captains, and a “select group of international media representatives.”
[Image by Phillipp Schmidli/Getty Images]