When the National Women’s Soccer League unveiled its end-of-the-year Best XI and Second Best XI awards Thursday, the biggest news wasn’t the names that made it, but the names that did not — and some star players weren’t shy to criticize it.
The awards, which included star players like Rose Lavelle, who started just five games all year, but omitted the likes of league assist leaders Yuki Nagasato and Debinha, were roundly criticized by players on the U.S. women’s national team.
Crystal Dunn, Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Allie Long are among the U.S. stars who took to Twitter to expressed their befuddlement over the final results.
Morgan replied to the list with a simple and confused, “huh?” But Dunn, who many analysts say was snubbed, got more in-depth in her reaction. Dunn emphasized the votes didn’t appear to be based on the 2019 NWSL season, with Lloyd chiming in to say the voters were “uneducated.”
Lots of uneducated people. #WomensSoccer
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) October 24, 2019
Long said “these awards will be viewed as a joke and this league will eventually lose credibility,” and she specifically raised Debinha’s absence as an issue.
Don’t even get me started with Debinha not being on EITHER team. It’s embarrassing to be fair and the person who made the final selection I would like them to come forth and explain yourself haha. https://t.co/tz0A0Ay61t
— Allie Long (@ALLIE_LONG) October 24, 2019
The Orlando Pride’s Sydney Leroux, formerly a USWNT striker, chimed in later as well, calling it a “disservice” to award players who missed most of the season.
There is no doubt that these players are some of the best in the world but this is an absolute disservice to the NWSL players who played the entire season. Without them, there is no NWSL. https://t.co/viJesz0DCg
— Sydney Leroux Dwyer (@sydneyleroux) October 25, 2019
According to the NWSL, the vote totals came from a combination of fans (20%), owners/GMs/coaches (20%), media (20%) and players (40%).
But despite players being counted as the largest voting bloc, the final list has little overlap with a list put out by the NWSL Players Association. That list has just four players who made it onto the league’s Best XI: goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, defenders Casey Short and Becky Sauerbrunn, and striker Samantha Kerr.
The league’s Best XI is missing four of the five players that are on the shortlist for MVP: Debinha, Kristen Hamilton, Yuki Nagasato, Lynn Williams. The only player to make it was Kerr.
The league Second Best XI included Megan Rapinoe, the star of the 2019 World Cup who appeared in just three regular season games for Reign FC, tallying no goals and no assists.
Even Rose Lavelle’s mother, Janet, found the inclusion of her daughter on the list strange: “Well this is awkward, I didn’t even vote for @roselavelle,” she tweeted.