Lindsay Horan had plenty of reason to celebrate in 2021. (USA TODAY Sports)
In a year in which she showed consistent world-class form while playing one of soccer’s most challenging positions for club and country, midfielder Lindsey Horan has been voted the 2021 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
This is the first U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award for Horan. She becomes the 18th different WNT player to win the award. Horan also becomes just the third player to win both U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year (which she won in 2013) and U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, joining Tobin Heath and Julie Ertz (who has won the Player of the Year twice).
“First and foremost, I want to congratulate the other nominees,” said Horan. “They all had incredible years, especially Carli [Lloyd] in her last year with the team. She was outstanding. I really appreciate everyone who voted and who supported me in the past year, which was a difficult year for everyone. I’m not really a player who wins these types of awards, so I’m super appreciative and it’s very meaningful to me.”
Forward Trinity Rodman was voted the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year after a standout year with the Washington Spirit, which culminated in a league championship and NWSL Rookie of the Year honors. She joins a long line of talented players to win the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year Award, which was first awarded in 1998 to current U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone.
“To see my name alongside the list of amazing players who have won this award in the past is unbelievable,” said Rodman. “It’s an honor to receive this award from U.S. Soccer and our amazing fanbase. This year was a journey for me both mentally and physically as I settled into my new life as a professional. I want to thank my family, teammates, coaching and medical staffs for everything they have done for me on and off the field. It truly takes a village. I am so incredibly proud of what my Spirit teammates and I accomplished this season, and I would be humbled to get an opportunity to play for the U.S. again and represent our country in 2022.”
The 27-year-old Horan is widely known as the first American player to forgo a college scholarship to turn professional, which she did immediately after high school in signing with French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain.
This year was Horan’s 10th as a professional player, and it was one of her best. She led the USA in minutes played with 1,707, starting 18 of her 22 international games. She finished tied for fourth in goals (6) and tied for second in assists (5), all while playing both defensive and attacking midfielder.
“I’ve worked very hard to get to this point in my career, and while I know there’s so much more work to do and things to accomplish individually and as a team, it’s always very nice to be recognized,” said Horan. “I wish we had won more team awards this year, but that’s professional football, and I know everyone is focused on having a great 2022 and beyond. Finally, I want to thank my trainer, Billy Lagreca, my family, friends and loved ones who have supported me not only through this year, but through my entire life in the game. We’re all a product of the people around us, so the biggest thanks goes to my family, my coaches and teammates.”
With Ertz injured, Horan played defensive midfielder leading into the Olympics and for the first half of the first Olympic match, distinguishing herself at that position before moving to a more advanced role as the tournament wore on. At the Olympics, she played in all six games, starting five, and was third in minutes played with 499. Horan scored one goal in the OIympics, that coming in her 100th cap during the group stage victory against New Zealand.
Her two assists against Brazil at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup brought her career assist total for the USWNT to 31, making her the 18th player in USWNT history to record 30 or more assists. She tallied her 32nd assist with a dynamic play that led to feeding Carli Lloyd for her first goal in the Olympic bronze medal game. She also scored against Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, Korea Republic and Australia on the year.
Her goal against Mexico was one of the best of Horan’s career thus far and one of the best by a U.S. player of late when she smashed home a full volley to open the USA’s 4-0 win on July 5.
Against Australia on Nov. 27, Horan captained the USA for the second time – the first was during her 100th cap celebration match on Oct. 21 – and nailed a critical penalty kick in the 68th minute to clinch the match. It was her 25th career goal, making her the 24th player in USWNT history with 25 or more goals.
For the Portland Thorns this season, she played in 14 games and had two goals and three assists while once again showing herself as one of the league’s top two-way midfielders and overall players. She helped the Thorns to titles in the NWSL Challenge Cup and the Women’s International Champions Cup while also playing a big part in Portland’s run to clinching the NWSL Shield. She was named to the 2021 NWSL Best XI Second Team.
“Lindsey was very, very good this year and she deserves this recognition,” said U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “Her work ethic in the midfield and her mentality to continue to evolve as a player is inspiring. Her ability to control the tempo of a game at the highest levels is world class, as is her ability to win balls in the midfield and help create goals in the attack. She’s an important piece of our National Team and we’re looking forward to seeing continue to grow as one of our leaders.”
For the first time, fans were able to vote for the U.S. Soccer Player and Young Player of the Year Awards with those votes weighted at 15% of the total. Of the five finalists for the Female Player of the Year Award, Horan garnered 36 percent of the overall tabulated votes, followed by Carli Lloyd (29%) and Rose Lavelle (19%).
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 2021, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, National Women’s Soccer League head coaches and select media members, administrators and college coaches.
Rodman earned 48 percent of the overall vote for the Young Female Player of the Year. Midfielder Catarina Macario was second (32%) and defender Emily Fox was third (13%).
Rodman, who turned 19 in May, was the youngest player to be drafted in the NWSL history, going to the Washington Spirit with the second overall pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft.
Her performances were key in helping the Spirit finish third in the league before going on to win the NWSL championship in one of the best title runs in sports this year. Rodman was one of the sensations of the 2021 NWSL season, scoring six goals (including two game-winners) with six assists, which tied for the league lead. She was second in the NWSL in shots and shots on goal. She played in 25 games with 22 starts spanning more than 2,000 minutes and was named the 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year.
Rodman scored in her NWSL Challenge Cup debut, becoming the youngest American to score in an NWSL competition. During the regular season she scored against Chicago (twice), Kansas City, New Jersey/New York, North Carolina and Houston. Rodman was a major part of the USA’s U-20 cycle in 2020 and played in the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Twenty of the 24 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year winners have earned caps with the full USWNT and 15 of them have gone on to play in a FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year has been awarded since 1985, when midfielder Sharon Remer earned the first Female Player of the Year honor. Abby Wambach won it six times, the most of any player. Mia Hamm won it five times.
HARRISON, N.J. – NJ/NY Gotham FC announced Thursday night that it had acquired U.S. women’s national team midfielder Kristie Mewis from the San Diego Wave in exchange for $200,000 in allocation money.
She was San Diego’s first selection in the National Women’s Soccer League Expansion Draft.
“Kristie is the exact type of player we’re looking for at Gotham FC,” Gotham FC general manager Yael Averbuch West said in a statement. “She’s fought extremely hard to come back from some early adversity in her career and has transformed herself into a tremendous player. She’ll fit right in thanks to her dedication, passion, and grit.”
A nine-year NWSL veteran, Mewis joins Gotham FC following five seasons with the Houston Dash in which she helped lead the team to the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup championship. Her performance with the Dash propelled her back into the USWNT picture after a five-year long absence since making her last appearance with the USWNT in 2014.
In 2020, she scored her first goal in 2,722 days, the longest span between goals in U.S. history, and in her resurgence has since gone on to score two more goals and collect four assists.
“Bringing Kristie here instantly makes us a better team,” Gotham FC head coach Scott Parkinson said in a statement. “She excels in so many facets of the game and the quality she displays in the final third is world-class. I cannot wait to start working with her.”
|Year||Female Player of the Year|
|1992||Carin Jennings Gabarra|
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