CHICAGO (Jan. 11, 2016) - Carli Lloyd, the co-captain of the U.S. Women's National Team, has been named the 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, and Jill Ellis, who led the USA to the 2015 Women's World Cup title, has been named the 2015 World Coach of the Year for Women's Soccer.
Lloyd and Ellis received the awards today at the 2016 FIFA Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich, Switzerland, as the world's governing body for soccer held its annual event. Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Argentina was named the FIFA World Player of the Year for the fifth time.
"I'm very, very honored and humbled," said Lloyd, who was also the 2015 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. "We all know that individual honors come from being a part of great teams and I want to thank all my teammates and coaches and the many people who have helped me along the way. It was a memorable year for all of us and I want to thank U.S. Soccer for their tremendous support of our National Team, as well as FIFA and everyone who voted. Now, we're all looking forward to the hard work it will take to achieve more success and continuing to the push the women's game to greater heights."
This marks the fourth time an American woman has been named FIFA Women's World Player of the Year following Abby Wambach in 2012 and Mia Hamm's selection in 2001 and 2002, the first two years the award was presented. Lloyd finished first in voting by coaches and captains of women's national teams from around the world. Each ballot allowed the coaches and captains to name their top three players, with a first-place nomination worth five points, and positions two and three rewarded with three points and one point, respectively. A total of 136 national team coaches, 135 national team captains and 106 media representatives vote for the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award. Carli Lloyd came out on top with 35.28 percent of all votes, ahead of German Célia Å aÅ¡iÄ‡ (12.60 percent) and Japan's Aya Miyama (9.88 percent).
An 11-year veteran of the U.S. National Team, Lloyd, 33, currently has 211 caps, the eighth most in U.S. history, and was far and away the leader in goals scored for the USA in 2015 with 18, a career high for her in a calendar year, breaking her own record of 15 set in 2012 and 2014.
Lloyd was the Golden Ball winner as the top player at the 2015 Women's World Cup and rocked the soccer world when she scored the fastest goal in World Cup Final history, giving the USA a 1-0 lead just two minutes and 34 seconds into the match.
She also became the first female player to score a hat trick in a World Cup Final, getting all three goals in a 16-minute span during the first half. Lloyd also won the Silver Boot as the second leading scorer at the Women's World Cup, where her knock-out round performance was the stuff of legend as she scored in all four elimination games and ended the tournament with six goals total. She also assisted on the clinching goal in the 2-0 semifinal victory against Germany, setting up Kelley O'Hara. Her incredible strike from midfield that capped her hat trick was voted Goal of the Tournament and was up for FIFA Goal of the Year.
"Carli is a great representative of U.S. Soccer and her performance at the Women's World Cup was one of the most memorable in the history of our Federation," said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. "We are very proud of her for this achievement and are certainly looking forward to watching her do more outstanding things in her career."
Ellis becomes the second coach of a U.S. team to win the award, which was instituted in 2008, but the first American. Swede Pia Sundhage won the award in 2012 after leading the USA to the Olympic gold medal in London. Ellis led the USA to a 20-2-4 record in 2015, losing only the first and last matches of the year. In between, the USA went unbeaten in 24 consecutive games which included the championship at the prestigious Algarve Cup in Portugal and the seven-game run to the FIFA Women's World Cup title.
Ellis and her staff deftly managed the team to first place in the "Group of Death" at the Women's World Cup, improving every match before winning three knockout games by shutout and then scoring four goals in first 16 minutes of the World Cup Final to effectively close out the match in the first half.
"First and foremost, I want to thank the U.S. players, coaches and staff who made 2015 such a wonderful year for our team," said Ellis. "Success is truly a team effort, and as a coach, we are all a product of the players and coaches we've worked with over so many years. They all deserve recognition and thanks for being a part of this amazing journey. I want to thank Sunil Gulati and U.S. Soccer for their continuing world class support and resources dedicated to the women's game and of course all of my friends and family. I could not do this without their unconditional love and support."
"When Jill took this job, she more than anyone understood the goals and standards of this program," said Gulati. "She embraced the challenge and the pressure and guided the team through the most competitive Women's World Cup in history. She is very deserving of this honor."
The 2015 FIFA Coach of the Year for Women's Soccer and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year and her teammates return to the field on Jan. 23 when the U.S. WNT opens its 2016 schedule against Ireland at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. More than 15,000 tickets have been sold for the match, which will set a record for fans to watch the U.S. Women in San Diego. The match will kick off at 2 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on FS1.