USWNT Lloyd, Ellis Capture Top FIFA Honors

Jill Ellis (left) and Carli Lloyd during the U.S. Women's Team's 2015 victory parade in New York City.
Jill Ellis (left) and Carli Lloyd during the U.S. Women's Team's 2015 victory parade in New York City.
Jill Ellis (left) and Carli Lloyd during the U.S. Women’s Team’s 2015 victory parade in New York City.

Carli Lloyd and Jill Ellis were two major factors in the U.S. Women’s National Team capturing the 2015 World Cup.

Nearly six months after becoming world champions, the two received each received the ultimate honor from FIFA. Lloyd, the newly named USWNT co-captain, was named the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, while Ellis was named the 2015 World Coach of the Year for Women’s Soccer.

Lloyd and Ellis received the awards Monday, January 11, 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.”

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. She defeated German Célia Šašić (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.

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.

“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.”