It’s been nearly 2½ months since the U.S. captured a second consecutive Women’s World Cup title in France, but the accolades continue to pour in, with co-captain Megan Rapinoe winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year honor on Monday and Jill Ellis being named the top women’s coach.

Rapinoe is the fourth American to be named the world’s top player, following Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd. Hamm and Lloyd each won the award twice.

In a ceremony held at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy, U.S. forward Alex Morgan, along with England defender Lucy Bronze, was among the three finalists for best women’s player while five Americans — forwards Rapinoe and Morgan, midfielders Julie Ertz and Rose Lavelle and defender Kelley O’Hara — made the FIFA FIFPro best 11 all-star team, which is voted on by their peers around the world.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi of Argentina was named the best men’s player for a record sixth time. Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus and Portugal and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk of the Netherlands were the other two finalists.

“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,” Rapinoe said. “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.”

The coach of the year award was the second for Ellis, who won in 2015 after her first World Cup triumph. She finished second in 2016.

Ellis, who is retiring from the national team after its final Victory Tour games this fall, also called the award a team prize.

“This award represents the efforts of our entire team and I sincerely thank the players and all the staff for their dedication and expertise,” she said. “I was honored to work with them.”

Source: Kevin Baxter| LA Times