On the evening of Sept. 23 at the famed Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy, FIFA held its annual Best Football Awards and the U.S. Women’s National Team was well represented. Megan Rapinoe was named The Best FIFA Women’s Player for 2019 while Jill Ellis was named The Best Women’s Coach. In addition, five players – Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle and Kelley O’Hara -- were named to the FIFA FIFPro Women’s World11. FIFPro has named Women’s World11 for the past four years, but this is the first year the Women’s World11 has been honored on stage at the FIFA awards.
Following are quotes from Italy from Rapinoe, Ellis, U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro, Morgan, Ertz. Lavelle and O’Hara.
U.S. forward Megan RAPINOE on being named The Best FIFA Women’s Player for 2019, and her teammates making the FIFA FIFPro World 11:
“Wow… What an Incredible honor. First and foremost, I want to thank my family, friends, and Sue for being there for me every step of the way, from way back when I was a teenager, driving me hundreds of miles to soccer practices and games, all the way to today. Their support means so much to me. They have stuck with me through the tough times, provided laughter when I needed it, the tough love when I need it, and the cheering when I needed it.
“I want to thank all my teammates, our entire coaching staff who worked so hard this year, our amazing medical staff and in particular our fitness coach Dawn Scott who has been a rock and who has believed in me for all these years. I wouldn’t have received this award without them.
“This World Cup perhaps more than any other was such an incredible team effort on so many fronts that I feel like I’m accepting this award on behalf of the team. Having five players in the World 11 is a testament to the quality we have all over the field so congrats to Alex, Julie, Rose and Kelley, as well the rest of this incredible team.
“I feel like I’m still a kid from a small town in Northern California who always just loved playing the game, so this is very surreal, but also just as I have dreamt for all these years. I also want to congratulate Alex and Lucy. I feel like any one of us could have won this award and it would have been deserved, so a huge credit to them and all the other nominees.”
U.S. WNT head coach Jill ELLIS on being named The Best FIFA Women’s Coach for 2019:
“I would first like to congratulate the other nominees on their performances this year and thank them for being instrumental in elevating the level of women’s football. This award represents the efforts of our entire team, and I sincerely thank the players and all the staff for their dedication and expertise. They are an amazing and talented group of people and I was honored to work with them. Finally, I would like to thank our Federation for their continued support, and my family and friends for their constant love on this journey. This game has given me so much and I feel truly blessed to have been able to follow my passion into my career.”
U.S. Soccer President Carlos CORDEIRO on Megan Rapinoe winning The Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year and fourth other U.S. players being named to the Best XI:
“It’s no easy thing to stand out on a team that is as talented and united as our Women’s National Team, but Megan’s World Cup performance was truly extraordinary, and I commend her for her fearlessness and leadership. We are also extremely grateful to have five players on the FIFA FIFPro Best 11, and we sincerely thank everyone who voted to recognize Alex, Julie, Kelley, Megan, and Rose for their world-class performances this year.”
U.S. Soccer President Carlos CORDEIRO on Jill Ellis being named The Best FIFA Women’s Coach of Year:
“Beyond making history as the first coach to win back-to-back Women’s World Cups, Jill has raised the standard for the women’s game to new levels. She is an icon of women’s football for us in the United States and we are very thankful that her peers have chosen to recognize her with this tremendous honor on the global stage.”
U.S. forward Alex MORGAN on being selected to the FIFA FIFPro World11:
“It’s a huge honor to be selected as a part of the FIFA World11. This World Cup was the most competitive one yet. It was so entertaining for the fans and there were so many incredible players that are deserving of being on this list so to selected for this team alongside many of my teammates and these other fantastic players is a great way to end this historic year.”
U.S. forward Alex MORGAN on fellow The FIFA Best Women’s Player nominee Megan Rapinoe winning the award:
“Having played many years with Megan, I’ve seen up close why she is so special but at the World Cup she showed rest of the world why she is so deserving of this honor. She continues to rise above and come through in pressure moments. She was obviously a massive part of us winning the World Cup and she deserves all the accolades she is getting.”
U.S. midfielder Julie ERTZ on being selected to the FIFA FIFPro World11:
“I’m so honored to be selected. To be honest, I never really dreamed I would be in this position. I truly just love this sport so much and this journey had brought me more than I could have imagined. To be on this U.S. team had been blessing in my life and I have many people to thank. I want to thank God, my family, my teammates, my coaches and of course Zach. The support has been amazing, and this award is an emotional one for me. Every single year I’m always even more grateful to have these experiences and to achieve these successes with my teammates.”
U.S. midfielder Rose LAVELLE on being selected to the FIFA FIFPro World11:
“It’s been a crazy year with a lot of emotional experiences, a lot of hard work and a lot fun. To get recognized by your peers is always a huge honor, but I believe individual recognition is also a testament to the team and players around you. As I said during the World Cup, I feel so grateful to be playing the game I love with the people I love, and I wouldn’t be the player or person I am without them. To be on a list with these amazing players and women is very humbling and it gives me even more motivation as we continue to focus on new goals for both my club and the U.S. team.”
U.S. defender Kelley O’HARA on being selected to the FIFA FIFPro World11:
“I’m so honored and flattered to be a part of the World11. To be picked by my fellow players is the coolest part and means the most. To be in a group with my teammates -- Pinoe, Alex, Rose and Julie -- and the other players from around the world, is such an honor, and it’s great that FIFA is finally recognizing a Women’s Best 11 on stage at these awards as it gives a chance for players from all the positions on the field and more countries to get recognized. There are so many great players in the world, and we saw that this summer in France, so this Best 11 is a great representation of the sport and it shows that Federations and leagues around the world need to continue to work to develop players who can dream of playing for their countries.”