On Tuesday Dec. 5, U.S. Soccer announced the five nominees for 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. This year's nominees include midfielders Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan and Samantha Mewis, and forwards Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. Today we continue “Making the Case” for each of the candidates with WNT forward Megan Rapinoe.
Almost two years ago to the date, in December of 2015, Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL during training in Honolulu, Hawaii, and while 2016 was a year that saw the 32-year-old work to try to regain her playing form, it was 2017 that brought us a fully-recovered Rapinoe.
For the U.S. WNT, Rapinoe played in 12 matches and scored three goals with a team-leading five assists. Her breakthrough comeback performance came at the 2017 Tournament of Nations, where she scored two goals and had two assists, but proved to be extremely dangerous in the attack during the stretch run of games
Rapinoe scored three goals in 2017 and had a team-leading 5 assists.
Two of her goals in 2017 were perhaps among the best of her career. The first came against Brazil on July 30, where Rapinoe provided the assist on Christen Press’ goal in the 80th minute, and then scored one herself in the 85th on a terrific finish to tie a wild game at 3-3, before Julie Ertz came and clinched it two minutes later.
Against Japan on Aug. 3, Rapinoe’s ankle-breaking moves were a thing of beauty as she scored to open a 3-0 victory.
The excellent performances also translated to the club environment, where Rapinoe – a 2017 NWSL MVP finalist – was leading the league in goals before undergoing a minor knee surgery that sidelined her for a few games.
She eventually finished third in the NWSL in goals with 12 in 18 matches (along with one assist) and was named to the NWSL Second XI. Three of those goals came in an epic 5-4 win against Sky Blue FC in which the New Jersey club erased a 4-0 deficit before Rapinoe scored the game-winner in the 87th minute.