Let us start the day the fútbol way.
Or, you know, with bad rhymes. Whatever works.
Nominees: U.S. Soccer 2014 Female Athlete of the Year.
• Lauren Holiday, midfield
• Sydney Leroux, forward
• Carli Lloyd, midfield
• Christen Press, forward
• Abby Wambach, forward
In a way, it is almost sad because there is an argument that the answer is clear. Of course, Abby Wambach has also taken the prize six times out of nine nominations. With sixteen caps and a record goal-scoring season highlighted by four goals against Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Championship, it seems hard to argue otherwise. Still, though, there is a case to be made for others; Lauren Holiday also earned sixteen caps, amounting to 1,255 minutes, over a third again more than Wambach played. Sydney Leroux managed 1,130 minutes, grabbing eighteen caps with nine goals and five assists. Carli Lloyd logged a staggering 1,683 minutes in earning nineteen caps, scoring ten goals and eight assists. And suddenly the answer isn’t so clear. U.S. Soccer is also accounting for play in other leagues; Wambach only played in ten games for New York Flash, while Lauren Holiday claimed the NWSL championship game MVP after FCKC defeated Seattle Reign FC at the end of August. And Christen Press played 1,115 minutes while being the only player on the USWNT to earn a cap in each of the twenty matches played so far this year; additionally, she played full time in each of twelve games with Chicago Red Stars and notched nine goals with Tyresö in Champions League play.
And suddenly the answer is not at all clear.
The U.S. Women’s National Team is one of the finest assemblies of sporting talent on the planet. And this is a term in which we do not bother parsing out male and female.