Jill Ellis and Carli Lloyd Win Best Off-The-Field Moment of 2016

Tuesday - Off the Field Moment of the Year
Today, Dec. 20, marks the second day of our 2016 U.S. Soccer Best of Awards voting right here on ussoccer.com. After tallying today's votes, the U.S. WNT's Jill Ellis and Carli Lloyd win Best Off-the-Field Moment for kicking off 2016 by being named the FIFA World Player and Women's Coach of the Year for 2015 on Jan. 11, 2016.

WNT’s Carli Lloyd and Jill Ellis Win World Player and Coach of the Year Awards – Jan. 11, 2016
The U.S. WNT kicked the new year off with a bang as both Carli Lloyd and Jill Ellis took home the highest honors from FIFA after being named the Best Women’s Player and Best Women’s Coach of the Year, respectively. Lloyd and Ellis received the awards on 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. Lloyd posed with the Men’s Player of the Year, Lionel Messi, following the ceremony.

Fans Unveil New Crest and Typeface – Feb. 29, 2016
Early this year, U.S. Soccer gave its fans and players the unique opportunity to unveil its bold new crest. The Federation shipped custom boxes to all its Members, current players and a plethora of former players and influencers, all set to arrive on Feb. After first allowing fans to share the crest, U.S. Soccer confirmed the change that afternoon, while also unveiling its new typeface. The change also allowed us to give Soccer House facility manager extraordinaires Adam and Ludwig some screentime on social media.

U-16 GNT vs. Iran Pre-Game Photo – April 27, 2016
The Under-16 Girls’ National Team defeated Iran 6-0 in its second game at the 1st International Women’s Tournament of Gradisca in Italy. More importantly however, was the significance of the historic match as it marked the first meeting in women’s international soccer between the USA and Iran at any age level. It was also the first time a U.S. Women’s National Team faced a country from the Middle East.

Michael Bradley’s Tribute Armband – June 16, 2016
Following the tragic Orlando Nightclub Shooting, U.S. MNT captain Michael Bradley approached team kit man Jesse Bignami with an idea. With the nation’s eyes pointed to the MNT ahead of their Copa America Centenario Quarterfinal match against Ecuador, Bradley proposed wearing a rainbow captain’s armband to honor the victims just four days after the tragedy. Through some quick thinking and help from Seattle Reign FC, Seattle Sounders FC and STT-Sports Lettering Co., a rainbow armband was found and produced with the “#OneNation” lettering, making for a touching and emotional tribute to the victims as Bradley led the MNT on to the field against Ecuador. The armband and game-worn jersey brought in more than $5,000 in a charity auction, with Bradley matching the amount for a donation.

PNT’s Joshua Brunais as Paralympic Closing Ceremony Flag Bearer – Sept. 18, 2016
Following remarkable performances both on the battlefield and in his Paralympic Games debut, Paralympic National Team defender Joshua Brunais was selected as the U.S. flag bearer for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Staff Sergeant Brunais, who served in the 75th Ranger regiment, retired in 2015 as a result of wounds he sustained from an IED blast. During his service, Brunais received the Soldier’s Medal after being credited for saving the lives of 14 men by pulling them out of a fire after a helicopter crash. Brunais was later selected to appear on stage with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden during a ceremony celebrating U.S. Olympians and Paralympians at the White House.

MNT Visits Cuba Classroom – Oct. 6, 2016
With the United States playing its first friendly in Cuba since 1947, the players were encouraged to take advantage of the cultural exchange opportunity, despite the limited time in Havana. A chance encounter made the effort worth it. As they strolled through Old Havana the day before the match, MNT players Steve Birnbaum, Michael Bradley, Omar Gonzalez and Perry Kitchen peeked through the windows of what turned out to be a small classroom. Receiving an impromptu invitation to join the class, Gonzalez translated for the group as they met students and gave an impromptu math lesson.  The kids were excited, the players were inspired, and the moment reminded everyone that soccer is about more than just the game.

MNT vs. Mexico Pre-Game Photo – Nov. 11, 2016
With a divisive U.S. Presidential election concluding just days before the USA and Mexico opened up Final Round Qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the high-profile match in Columbus took on an even bigger meaning for both sides. In a show of solidarity prior to the game, the 22 starters gathered together at midfield in an unforgettable symbol of unity that resonated beyond the game.