Five weeks after announcing the nominees, FIFA announced the finalists for the 2009 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Award at its headquarters in Zurich on Monday, with three of the five finalists having played in WPS during the inaugural season.
Finalists, who played in WPS and selected as 2009 WPS All-Stars, are (country/2009 team):
Cristiane, BRA/Chicago Red Stars – The only player in WPS to notch a hat trick this season, her incredible long-range strike against FC Gold Pride in mid-July was one of the goals of the year this season in WPS. Finished with seven goals, fourth-best in WPS.
Marta, BRA/Los Angeles Sol – Winner of the 2009 Michelle Akers Player of the Year Award as league MVP, Marta notched 10 goals and three assists to lead the LA Sol to the WPS regular season title and a spot in the WPS Championship game.
Kelly Smith, ENG/Boston Breakers – Tallied six goals in just 15 games in WPS this year to lead the Boston Breakers' early charge to start the season as one of the best teams in WPS and won WPS Player of the Month honors for April. Finished among the top five in WPS in goals and was a consistent threat in the offensive third with her dangerous left foot.
The other two finalists come from 2009 European Champions, Germany: Inka Grings and Birgit Prinz. Both Marta and Prinz have won the award three times, and each is looking to win for the record fourth time. The winner will be announced at the FIFA World Player Gala scheduled for Dec. 21 in Zurich.
About Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS)
Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) is the premier women’s soccer league in the world and the global standard by which women’s professional sports are measured. The Inaugural Season kicked off in March 2009 with seven WPS teams based in the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. The league’s eighth and nine franchises, Philadelphia and Atlanta, will begin play in the 2010 WPS Season, which begins March 2010. For more information, visit www.womensprosoccer.com .