CHICAGO — Chicago Red Stars defender Julie Ertz and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher are nominated for U.S. Soccer’s Female Player of the Year Award. Both Chicago players were key members of the U.S. WNT squad that won the FIFA World Cup this summer and helped the Red Stars reach their first-ever NWSL Championship appearance.
Ertz started six of the seven games for the U.S. WNT in the World Cup. She scored her first-career tournament goal against Chile in the second group stage game. Ertz would go on to play 474 minutes throughout the tournament and won the second World Cup of her career. Her stellar play would continue with Chicago. She played in 16 games for the Red Stars in 2019, commandeering the backline to five consecutive wins in September and closed out the season allowing only two goals in the final five games of the season to clinch a home semifinal for Chicago. Ertz would help stifle the Portland offense in the semifinal and lead Chicago to the franchise’s first NWSL Championship game. For her performance, she would be named to the NWSL Best XI for the 2019 season and a spot in the first-ever FIFPro World XI.
Naeher started all seven games for the U.S. WNT in this summer’s World Cup. She made 13 saves and kept a tournament-best four clean sheets. She would be the hero against England in the semifinal with a penalty-kick save in the 81st minute that led the U.S. to the World Cup final where she would lift the World Cup for the second time in her career. Naeher would go on to keep seven shutouts for Chicago in 2019, including a league-best six in the second half of the season. She would close out the final five games of the regular season with 17 saves, including consecutive games with six saves. Against Portland in the semifinal, Naeher would keep another clean sheet to help the Red Stars reach the NWSL Championship. Naeher’s stellar play would earn her a spot in the NWSL Second XI for 2019.
Votes for U.S. Soccer Player of the Year awards are collected from respective National Team coaches, National Team players who have earned a cap in 2019, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, National Women’s Soccer League head coaches for the USWNT and American soccer league (MLS and USL) head coaches for the USMNT, select media members and former players and administrators. In addition, select college coaches vote for the USWNT award.
Below is a full list of the nominees: