Abbfy Wambach has won the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award at the Ballon d’Or awards in Zurich.
The award which is voted by recognized players, managers, coaches and journalists was awarded to an American for the first time since Mia Hamm in 2002.
Wambach, 32, helped her nation win a Gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics in the summer, and beat Brazilian legend Marta and compatriot Alex Morgan for the award. Wambach spoke in front of the world’s media and superstars of both the Women’s and Men’s game.
“Most importantly, winning any individual award is a total product of the team that you play for,” the striker said. ”I’ve never scored a goal without receiving a pass from my team-mates. Thanks to all the fans out there who continue to inspire me and the rest of the team to win as many games as we can.”
Wambach won the Player of the Tournemant, as well as the Golden boot at the Olympic games and described this as the proudest individual moment of her career. Last years winner, Homare Sawa of Japan, was out of the top 3 despite still playing at 34.
But for Wambach the award was something that was really missing from her career, having stood in the shadow of her hero Marta for many years. However, now Wambach will be remembered as a great, with just a World Cup win the last remaining item to tick off.
Wambach who is the USA’s second highest goal scorer, behind Hamm won the award with 20.67% of the votes. Brazilian Marta (a 5 time winner of the award) finished 2nd with 13.5% of the votes. Seattle Sounders striker, Morgan finished 3rd with 10.87%.
Pia Sundhage won the Women’s Coach of the year award, having led the USA to Olympic glory, but has since taken charge of her home nation Sweden.
Wambach was the highest ranked Women (2nd) in my Rant Sports “Top 20 American Soccer Players” recently, and it is hard to argue against it, having been the most impressive Women on the major stage this year.
“I really didn’t expect this… Thanks to all the fans out there who continue to inspire me and the rest of the team to win as many games as we can.”
Alex Morgan has also had a rapid development during this past year. The 23 year old scored the Extra time winner vs Canada at Old Trafford during the Olympics – a goal that will live in US Soccer fans memories. Morgan has also grabbed a reputation as one of the most exciting and prolific upcoming female Footballers, and there will be surprise if we see her name top of the voting list in years to come.
There can be little argument over the top 3, and I’d have to agree. Wambach reached a career high last year, but requires a World Cup winners medal to really round it all off, she’ll have to wait until Canada 2015. Whilst, Marta is still evidently one of the World Best and Morgan’s impressive display on the highest level last year showed off to the World that she is capable of true greatness.
By Stowe Gregory @stowegregory