Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz are on the five-player shortlist for the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award, adding to the accolades the pair have picked up since winning the World Cup last summer.
Ertz and Rapinoe are joined by England’s Lucy Bronze, who plays for Olympique Lyonnais in France; Australia’s Sam Kerr, who recently joined English side Chelsea; and the Netherlands’ Vivianne Miedema, a standout with England’s reigning champion, Arsenal. All are players who participated at the World Cup and have also enjoyed strong shows with their club teams in the last year.
Both Ertz, who competes for the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL, and Reign FC standout Rapinoe took the honor as representative of not just their on-field accomplishments, but their off-field impact as well.
Ertz said “2019 has been really special and to know people enjoy your craft is an honor,” in a statement issued by the BBC. “The welcome home parade was a lot of people, I didn’t realize how much it was on the news, people were saying congratulations everywhere we were going which was a lot to take in. It shows you how great sports are at uniting people, you learn more about yourself and stand for something right. It’s changed me to be a better person.”
Rapinoe, perhaps the most celebrated member of the United States women’s national team since the World Cup, feels she is not just representing her teammates, but all women’s soccer players.
“I feel like in so many ways I’m representing what the whole team is standing for, every team in the World Cup, it felt like we were all on the same team fighting for something bigger,” Rapinoe said in the BBC statement. “We were able to transcend sport in such an incredible way… so to be a mouthpiece and driving it forward is amazing.”
A group of experts, including players, coaches, administrators, and journalists decided the shortlist, though the final vote is open to the public. Voting is now open on the BBC’s women’s soccer page, and will be open until Monday, March 2. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 24.