Megan Rapinoe

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USWNT dominate FIFA’s best player, coach award nominees

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The two-time reigning World Cup champions understandably lead the way in terms of nominees for FIFA’s top awards.

Four USWNT players have been nominated to be crowned the best women’s player on the planet over the past 12 months, while Jill Ellis (who announced yesterday she will depart in October) has been nominated for the best coach in the female game.

Julie Ertz, Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan are the four nominees from the USWNT, as the list of 12 nominees takes into account performances from 25 May 2018 to 7 July 2019. Rapinoe was named the best player at the 2019 World Cup, while Lavelle was named the third best overall as the U.S. secured back-to-back titles under Ellis.

Ellis is the favorite to win the Coach of the Year award in the women’s game, while Phil Neville of England is also a leading contender along with Reynald Pedros of Lyon among the 10 nominees. NC Courage head coach Paul Riley is also nominated, and he is one of the leading contenders to replace Ellis as the new USWNT head coach.

Ada Hegerberg, who won the award last year, is once again nominated despite her ongoing dispute with the Norwegian FA which saw the Lyon star miss out on the World Cup, while Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen is included, with England’s Lucy Bronze (who was named the second best player at the 2019 World Cup) and Ellen White, Australia’s Sam Kerr, plus Dutch star Vivianne Miedema and French duo Wendi Renard and Amandine Henry.

Rapinoe is the favorite given her superb displays at the 2019 World Cup, but the likes of Hegerberg, Renard and Bronze will be right up there as they’ve been stars for the all conquering Lyon in the club game.

Below is the list of the nominees for the player and coach of the year award, which will be announced at FIFA’s ceremony in Milan on Sept. 23.

FIFA Best Player of the Year nominees

Lucy Bronze – Lyon and England
Julie Ertz – Chicago Red Stars and USWNT
Caroline Graham Hansen – Wolfsburg (now Barcelona) and Norway
Ada Hegerberg – Lyon and Norway
Amandine Henry – Lyon and France
Sam Kerr – Chicago Red Stars and Australia
Rose Lavelle – Washington Spirit and USWNT
Vivianne Miedema – Arsenal and Netherlands
Alex Morgan – Orlando Pride and USWNT
Megan Rapinoe – Seattle Reigns and USWNT
Wendie Renard – Lyon and France
Ellen White – Manchester City and England

FIFA Best Coach of the Year nominees

Melina Bertolini – Italy
Jill Ellis – USA
Peter Gerhardsson – Sweden
Futoshi Ikeda – Japan U20
Antonia Is – Spain U17
Joe Montemurro – Arsenal
Phil Neville – England
Reynald Pedros – Lyon
Paul Riley – NC Courage
Sarina Wiegman – Netherlands

Rapinoe’s wide-ranging book to be published next year

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NEW YORK — Soccer star Megan Rapinoe has scored again, this time with a book deal.

[ VIDEO: Ozil targeted in carjacking; Kolasinac comes out swinging ]

Penguin Press announced Thursday that Rapinoe’s book, currently untitled, will be published in Fall 2020. Penguin is calling the book a “perfect vehicle” for an “honest, thoughtful, unapologetic” take on everything from soccer to nationalism to gay rights. Meanwhile, a division of Penguin Young Readers will work on a Rapinoe book for middle graders.

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Rapinoe became an international celebrity this summer after she helped lead the U.S women’s soccer team to a World Cup championship. She openly denounced President Donald Trump and said she would refuse to attend a White House celebration if invited. Trump tweeted in response that Rapinoe should “never disrespect our country, the White House or our flag.”

USWNT’s Rapinoe on MSNBC: I spoke with Infantino about equal pay

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The USWNT continues its victory lap ahead of Wednesday’s ticker tape parade in New York City, and superstar Megan Rapinoe used her time to hit the television circuit including an interview with “MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.”

Rapinoe was asked about many things over the course of the episode, including the fight for the same pay as the United States men’s national team.

[ MORE: What’s next for USMNT? ]

And she seems confident that the USWNT has won that battle, even saying she’s spoken a little with the highest official in world soccer.

“I even had a brief conversation with FIFA president Gianni Infantino after the game,” Rapinoe said on the show. “I think everyone realizes now, okay, it’s time for the next step. It’s time to work together to get there to a better place. The conversation is not about equal pay anymore. If you’re not down with equal pay or equality by now, you’re so far out of reality and the conversation that we can’t even go there. Nobody wants this contentious fight all the time.”

Rapinoe says that the United States Soccer Federation, FIFA, and all the confederations need to take the next step in their support of the women’s game.

“The (U.S. Soccer) Federation has put a lot of resources and money and support behind the team. They deserve credit for that when we talk about all the other federations of the world. Just because you’re better than someone who’s bad doesn’t mean necessarily that you’re good.”

Rapinoe also said that a next step for fans who love the team would be to support the National Women’s Soccer League.

“We have nine teams in the NWSL,” she said. “You can go to league games. You can support that way. You can buy jerseys, you can tell your friends about it, become a season ticket holder. That’s the easiest way.”

Best Moments of the 2019 Women’s World Cup

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What a tournament.

It’s reasonable to call the 2019 Women’s World Cup the best top-to-bottom showcase of women’s soccer in history, and it’s up there even if it’s not No. 1.

Here are the moments that stood above the pack, and since we’re not going to talk about VAR for a change — and also going to skip complaints about Cameroon’s physicality and American hotel surveying — we’ll keep things short and sweet.

Made-up Marta provides more inspiration

Marta has long been a hero to many young players, but she had three major moments in what could be her last World Cup.

The 33-year-old Brazilian became the all-time World Cup leader for goals and ran her career total to 17, but almost as many people were discussing her choice (two key words there) to wear bright red lipstick on the pitch. Others would follow suit.

But the magical playmaker really stood out in her post-elimination speech begging the girls of the world to dream big.

“The women’s game depends on you to survive,” she said. “Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end.”

A Baker’s Dozen and Its After-Effects

If there were any questions regarding the USWNT’s desire to bring the proper motivation to defend its World Cup, the Yanks answered emphatically with an opening game 13-0 masterpiece versus Thailand.

Alex Morgan scored five goals. Five!

The storylines that would follow were many. Megan Rapinoe’s leg-pumping celebration came when the Americans put the game to bed three or four times early, and it wasn’t so classy (even if it was understandable. Those aren’t mutually exclusive concepts).

The next match for Thailand, though, saw a more respectable deficit of 4-0 turn into a joyous 4-1, and national team program benefactor Nualphan Lamsam. They finished with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chile, but this was the moment for them:

We were kinda lying about not mentioning VAR as Argentina stuns, eliminates Scotland

When Erin Cuthbert scored a 69th minute goal to give Scotland a 3-0 lead in its final group stage game, Argentina would’ve been forgiven for climbing into its shell and congratulating Scotland on advancing into the knockout rounds.

That didn’t quite happen, did it? Argentina made it 3-1 five minutes later and got an own goal soon after that to pull to within one.

Stoppage time saw Argentina get a penalty through Video Assistant Referee. Lee Alexander saved the attempt, but was awarded a second when VAR deemed that Alexander left her line too early.

That one was converted, and Scotland went home. Bitter stuff, and the referees didn’t like it either.

Cameroon’s late show extends tournament too knockout rounds

Ajara Nchout scored early in the second half of a must-win match for Cameroon against New Zealand, but both teams looked set to go home early after the Football Ferns leveled the score and couldn’t find a second.

Nchout’s second marker, though, was leeee-git and came deep in stoppage time for one of the most memorable moments in France.

Megan Rapinoe and her pose

Okay, so this one’s easy; When you look back on the name to collect the most headlines at the tournament, what moment stands above the rest for your Golden Boot- and Golden Ball-winning World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe.

And it’s the pose. Here I am: Love me or hate me, I’m getting the job done.

A tournament which saw her create furor with an over-the-top celebration against Thailand before having to deal with a surprising release of unsurprising anti-presidential comments.

Rapinoe and her pink shock of hair were everywhere, and she cemented her status as a world star. What’s next for her is unknown, but what happened this summer won’t be forgotten.

(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

PST’s Women’s World Cup Best XI

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The Women’s World Cup concluded its best run yet with the United States women’s national team’s 2-0 defeat of the Netherlands on Sunday, the fourth title and second-successive World Cup for the ladies of the red, white, and blue.

There will be temptations from some to give the USWNT approximately 11 out of 11 spots on a Best XI, but let’s face it: The best team didn’t often have its best game during its unbeaten run through France.

[ MORE: What we learned about the USMNT this summer ]

Some are no-doubters: Having this team without Julie Ertz or Kelley O’Hara would be criminal. But there are a lot of tough decisions here.

Should a quarterfinalist get a player on the XI, given that France lost to the champions in a brutal draw? How many USWNT players should make it? Alex Morgan did all her statistical damage in one match, but did so much that doesn’t show up on the score sheet. And how do we pick three center backs when the best defenders were out wide?

Ultimately, we’re playing a right back out of position because we can, because Julie Ertz is going to clean up a lot of messes, and because this team will never take the field: It’s a post on the Information Superhighway.

Sari van Veenendaal (Netherlands)

O’Hara (USWNT) — Wendie Renard (France) — Lucy Bronze (England)

Kosovare Asllani (Sweden) — Ertz (USWNT) — Rose Lavelle (USWNT) — Sherida Spitse (Netherlands)

Megan Rapinoe (USWNT) — Alex Morgan (USWNT) — Ellen White (England)

This was tough. Who was our most egregious omission?