Rose Lavelle

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Rapinoe, Ellis win FIFA honors; Five USWNT players in Best XI

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Zero surprise here.

Megan Rapinoe has been named the Best women’s player Jill Ellis has been named the top manager in women’s soccer at FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony in Milan on Monday.

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Ellis led the USWNT to its second-straight Women’s World Cup this summer, the first boss to manage the feat (Germany won two-straight World Cups, but had Tina Theune and Silvia Neid at the helm).

Rapinoe made waves on and off the field during the USWNT’s spell-binding run to a second-successive title, its fourth in history.

The Women’s Best XI sees four of her teammates join her: Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz, and Rose Lavelle.

Three members of Women’s Champions League winners Lyon also make the list, as does top goalkeeper winner Sari van Veenendaal.

  • Sari van Veenendaal (NED) – Arsenal / Atletico Madrid
  • Lucy Bronze (ENG) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Wendie Renard (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Nilla Fischer (SWE) – VfL Wolfsburg / Linkopings
  • Kelley O’Hara (USA) – Utah Royals
  • Amandine Henry (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Julie Ertz (USA) – Chicago Red Stars
  • Rose Lavelle (USA) – Washington Spirit
  • Megan Rapinoe (USA) – Reign FC
  • Marta (BRA) – Orlando Pride
  • Alex Morgan (USA) – Orlando Pride

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

Lavelle ‘straight up superstar’ after stellar World Cup run


Who’s got next for the U.S. women’s national team? Rose Lavelle has next, gladly.

[ VIDEO: Watch the USWNT lift the World Cup trophy ]

The USWNT needed Lavelle to step up and become one of the faces and emerging leaders for the next generation of the program, and she delivered all throughout the 2019 Women’s World Cup. She delivered again. And again. And again.

With a whole host of legendary figures potentially set to end their international careers following one last major triumph in Sunday’s final, the two-time reigning world champions will soon face the difficult task of turning the keys over to the next wave of superstars.

[ MORE: Player ratings: USWNT v. Netherlands ]

Megan Rapinoe has been one of those superstars for the better part of the last decade, so it speaks volumes when Rapinoe singles out Lavelle as “a straight up superstar” immediately after the duo accounted for both goals in the Americans’ 2-0 victory over the Netherlands to become the first team to ever win back-to-back Women’s World Cups.

“She has just been missing that little bit all tournament and for her to get that reward tonight on the biggest stage, I’m so proud of her. She’s a straight up superstar.”

Lavelle has taken her rapid rise to superstardom in stride all summer, scoring three goals en route to celebrating her first world title and taking home the Bronze Ball. More importantly, though, she never lost sight of the fact that it’s importantly to enjoy each and every moment along the way. Not long after she scored the USWNT’s second goal to put another World Cup final to bed, Lavelle was equal parts old head and wide-eyed 24-year-old.

“It’s wild how far I’ve come and it’s so surreal. I just won a World Cup with people I grew up idolizing.”

“I feel so much pride right now. I have learned so much from Megan Rapinoe. I feel so honored to step on the pitch at the same time as her. She is unreal.”

It won’t be long before a bunch of 20-something newcomers show up to USWNT camp, thinking, “That’s Rose Lavelle, I’ve looked up to her since I was a kid. I can’t believe I’m on the same team as her.”

2019 World Cup award winners announced

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The 2019 Women’s World Cup is over, and the awards have been dished out.

Unsurprisingly the World Cup champs, the USWNT, dominate the award winners as the USA secured back-to-back titles with minimum fuss throughout the month long extravaganza in France.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned |  Player ratings

Here’s a look at the award winners in full, as there will be plenty of debate over some of these awards.

Golden Ball (Tournament MVP)

Golden Ball: Megan Rapinoe – USA
Silver Ball: Lucy Bronze – England
Bronze Ball: Rose Lavelle – USA

Golden Boot (Top goalscorer)

Golden boot: Megan Rapinoe – USA (Six goals, three assists, fewer minutes played than Morgan)
Silver boot: Alex Morgan – USA (Six goals, three assists)
Bronze boot: Ellen White – England (Six goals)

Golden glove (Best Goalkeeper)

Sari van Veenendaal – Netherlands

Young player of the tournament (Under 21 years old)

Giulia Gwinn – Germany

FIFA Fair Play trophy


Preview: USWNT faces Netherlands in World Cup final

Photo by Naomi Baker - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

The U.S. women’s national team’s quest to defend its crown as world champions has but one final hurdle to clear: a World Cup final clash with the Netherlands in Lyon, France, on Sunday (11 a.m. ET).

[ VIDEO: Alex Morgan hits out at reaction to tea celebration ]

For one side — the defending champion Americans — an appearance in the final was assumed a foregone conclusion before the tournament kicked off. Beginning with the 13 goals they scored against Thailand in their opening game of the group stage, that expectation never once changed, not even the tiniest little bit. The rest of the group stage was a straightforward endeavor; followed a tougher-than-expected challenge from Spain in the round of 16; then, the big one, taking on host nation and second-favorites France in the quarterfinals; and England didn’t go down without a fight in the semifinals, but the Yanks wouldn’t be denied a crack at the program’s fourth World Cup trophy and star above the crest.

The Dutch, on the other hand, entered this summer’s tournament with little fanfare — in comparison to the USWNT — but were widely tipped an under-the-radar favorite to make some noise. A run to the final would have been unexpected, but far from outlandish. The Oranje women, in just their second all-time appearance at the World Cup, no longer reside on the fringes of the world’s best. New Zealand, Cameroon and Canada proved no test for the Netherlands in the group stage, as they finished with nine out of nine points; Japan’s quest for a third straight final was snuffed out in the round of 16; they simply outlasted a game Italian side in the quarters; and they needed 120 minutes to dispatch Sweden in the semis.

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After playing six games in 21 days, the USWNT isn’t without a handful of nagging injuries. The likes of Megan Rapinoe (hamstring), Rose Lavelle (hamstring) and Alex Morgan (undisclosed) have all missed time due to what they each referred to as minor injuries, though they expect to be available on Sunday. Rapinoe didn’t play in — or warm up for — the England game, but has since said she’s recovering well from her “minor strain.” With five goals in four appearances, Rapinoe trails Morgan by a single goal in the race for the Golden Boot.

If there’s one team at this tournament that could keep stride with the Americans’ abundance of attacking talent — at least, among the two sides’ starting groups — it’s the Dutch. Vivianne Miedema (three goals) and Lieke Martens (two goals) have won plenty of accolades thus far as standout performers, while six other players have also scored a goal. Only the Americans (nine) can boast of more goal-scorers than the Netherlands’ eight. Martens picked up an injury of her own during Wednesday’s semifinal and her status for Sunday is up in the air.

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While much of the talk prior to and during the World Cup has been about the closing of the once-vast gap between the USWNT and the rest of the world, should the Americans reign supreme at the conclusion of back-to-back tournaments, they will have won their second straight in the most difficult of fashions possible: running the toughest possible gauntlet in the knockout rounds, culminating in a final triumph over the reigning European champions.

So much more than that is on the line for the USWNT. Individually, Morgan can stake her claim to a place in the “best to ever do it” conversation; Carli Lloyd will almost certainly be taking the field for a competitive fixture for the final time; the same goes for Becky Sauerbrunn and (probably also) Rapinoe; and Jill Ellis can silence her critics once and for all if she becomes the only women’s coach ever to successfully defend a World Cup title.