Samantha Mewis: “It should go without saying that it’s the team that does the work on the field and I just have so much respect for the other nominees this year and all my teammates. (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)
CHICAGO – In a year in which she shone brightly in the limited U.S. women’s national team schedule while also performing at an extremely high level for clubs in the U.S. and England, midfielder Samantha Mewis has been voted the 2020 U.S. Soccer female player of the year.
This was the first U.S. Soccer female player of the year award for Mewis. She became the 17th USWNT player to win it.
“It’s obviously a huge honor to be a part of the list of players that have won this award in the past,” Mewis said in a statement. “It should go without saying that it’s the team that does the work on the field and I just have so much respect for the other nominees this year and all my teammates. I’ve just loved playing with them on the U.S. team, and with my teammates for the Courage and Man City. It’s still such an honor to even get called into a U.S. camp, to get playing time and to be able to score goals for my country. All that continues to be surreal to me. I owe so much to so many people who have helped me on my journey and any individual award is a credit to them.”
The 28-year-old Hanson, Mass., native has had excellent performances for club and country the past few years, highlighted by a breakthrough showing at the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Mewis carried that form into 2020 and is recognized as one of the world’s top two-way midfielders in many quarters.
The 6-foot Mewis, the tallest field player in USWNT history, has shown her ball-winning abilities in the air and on the ground while proving to be a player who can drive a team forward with her dribbling and passing, short- and long-range. She also has proven to be a goal scorer from inside the penalty area, particularly with her head and on set pieces, while also creating danger with her shooting from distance.
In 2020, Mewis played in eight of the nine USWNT games, starting six, and scoring four goals. All the goals came at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament in which she recorded back-to-back braces against Costa Rica and Mexico.
Mewis also put in a strong performance at the NWSL Challenge Cup, playing in all five games for the North Carolina Courage before making a move to England and Manchester City in early August. Over 17 matches for Man City in the league, FA Cup, Continental Cup and UEFA Women’s Champions League, she has shown to be one of the best midfielders in the FA Women’s Super League while scoring six goals across all competitions. That has included three in the league, two in the FA Cup and one in Champions League.
She helped Man City win the delayed FA Cup with a 3-1 victory over Everton Nov. 1. In that match at Wembley Stadium, she became the third American, and second American woman, to score in an FA Cup Final, joining Carli Lloyd (2017) and Christian Pulisic (2020).
She also scored the game-winner in the first leg of City’s 2-1 Round of 32 UEFA Women’s Champions League match at Göteborg in Sweden. City defeated Göteborg 3-0 in the second leg at home to earn a berth into the quarterfinals.
“I am very happy for Sam,” U.S. women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a statement. “Due to her work ethic and mentality to be the best player she can be, her every day dedication to being a professional and her sincere caring for her teammates and the team as a whole, she’s a true example of what the USWNT stands for. She has proven herself and excelled in three different environments this year and I know she has even more great times ahead in her career.”
Mewis ended the year in a special fashion, getting to play with her older sister Kristie during the U.S.’s 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in Breda Nov. 27, a match in which Kristie scored the clinching goal. It was the first time the two had played together for the USWNT in more than six years.
“It’s been a strange year with a lot of hardship for a lot of people, but I’m really grateful for the humanity we’ve seen this year as well,” Mewis said. “I’m just really humbled that I got the opportunity to play for the USA and for two fantastic clubs this year. My family and husband have been so supportive and to even get the opportunity to play soccer this year with everything so uncertain has been a gift.
“I’m grateful for the support of Vlatko and his staff, to the Courage and Paul Riley, who has had a big impact on me, and to all the coaches, staff and players at Man City who welcomed Rose and I with open arms. Looking forward, I’m really excited for the future of the National Team. We have big things coming up and I’m hoping I can continue to be a part of it.”
One of five finalists for the award, Mewis garnered 45 percent of the tabulated votes, followed by Crystal Dunn (29 percent) and Lindsey Horan (11 percent).
The U.S. Soccer female player of the year has been awarded since 1985, when midfielder Sharon Remer earned the first honor. Abby Wambach won it six times, the most of any player. Mia Hamm won it five times.
Votes for U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year awards are collected from respective national team coaches, national team players who earned a cap in 2020, members of the U.S. Soccer board of directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, National Women’s Soccer League head coaches, select media members and administrators. Select college coaches also vote for U.S. Soccer’s Female Player of the Year award.
On Friday, USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie was announced as the 2020 U.S. Soccer male player of the uear. U.S. Soccer’s young male player and young female player of the Year awards will be announced on Monday and player of the year with a Disability Tuesday.