- The year in women's football: Rapinoe, Kerr, Miedema and more16:29 | 27/12/2019
Carrie Dunn rounds up the last 12 months in women’s football.
Photo by Getty Images
The year in women’s football will, inevitably, be dominated by one woman – and one image.
The USA’s Megan Rapinoe finished the 2019 Women’s World Cup with yet another winner’s medal (her second, and her nation’s fourth), plus the Golden Boot, and finished the tournament as the final’s player of the match. By the end of the year she’d also won FIFA’s The Best award and the Ballon D’Or.
Her impact over the summer could not be disputed; whether or not she was the best player worldwide over the course of the entire year was a matter of some debate, particularly as she had played very little domestic football during those 12 months.
Australia captain Sam Kerr had a good claim to being the world’s best. A game-changing striker, she is the all-time top scorer in both Australia’s W-League and America’s National Women’s Soccer League. She led the Matildas in France over the summer, scoring four against Jamaica, and inspiring her team to a 3-2 comeback win over Marta’s Brazil. After months of speculation – and a slightly premature deal for the FA Women’s Super League to be broadcast in Australia – she signed on the dotted line for Emma Hayes’s Chelsea, and will be heading to England in the New Year.
The Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema had herself a pretty good year as well. Leading the line, she helped her country to the World Cup final; and she fired her club Arsenal to their first WSL title in seven years, finishing the season as the league’s top scorer with 22 goals. Just to underline the point, she wrapped up her 2019 with a couple of utterly superlative performances, including a spectacular against Bristol City when she scored six and created four goals during her 70 minutes on the pitch.
England’s star remained Lucy Bronze, shining on the world stage and across Europe as her club Lyon dominated France and the Champions League once more. She came second to Rapinoe in the FIFA stakes, winning the Silver Ball, but was the acknowledged best in Europe, winning the UEFA Player of the Year award.
Despite the lack of headline names like Bronze, and an exodus from the likes of her fellow Lionesses Nikita Parris and Alex Greenwood, the WSL continued its quest to be the best domestic league in the world – and a massive title sponsorship deal from Barclays went some way to doing that. All the WSL clubs are now fully professional. However, the Championship is still part-time – and the Women’s FA Cup still doesn’t have a commercial partner following the end of the agreement with energy providers SSE.
Much as authorities might like to concentrate on what’s happening on the pitch, the off-field situation is less than rosy in many places. Some may feel uneasy about the spread of global “groups” of clubs – Manchester City popularised it, and now Lyon seem to be getting in on the action, announcing their intent to take over Seattle Reign in the NWSL.
The legal wrangling between the USA squad and their federation over equal pay and treatment rumbles on, with the players filing a lawsuit back in March. They get paid less than the men’s squad despite the vast difference in their performances, and they have also noted the lack of parity in their working conditions.
And 2019 has seen continued revelations about abuse of female players, with Afghanistan officials receiving lengthy bans from the game – a life ban for former AFF president Keramuddin Keram for abusing players and misusing his position, and shorter bans to others for their failure to investigate complaints.
2020 is an Olympic year, so women’s football will be in the spotlight once more. Although the men’s competition at the Games is for young senior players, the top female stars will all be hoping to be in action – winning Olympic gold has long been one of the biggest prizes on offer. Phil Neville will be leading a combined Team GB; Vlatko Andonovski’s USA team will go to Japan as favourites yet again. Another fascinating year approaches.
Megan Rapinoe (USA)Getty Images
Source – Eurosport
Portrait of famous people
- Le Huynh Duc is former captain of Vietnamese national Football team. He is currently coaching SHB Ðà Nẵng.
- Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is to retire at the end of the season.
- Striker Le Cong Vinh is playing for SLNA
- Lionel Messi became the best scorer in a year with 91 goals in 2012.