CHICAGO — The 55 nominees from FIFA’s FIFPro World XI was announced Tuesday, with Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz, forward Sam Kerr and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher among the finalists.
Ertz was a key member of the U.S. WNT during the World Cup. In six games played she commandeered the midfield and backline, helping the defense shutout their opponents in four games and never allowing more than one goal per game to the opposition. Ertz scored her first career World Cup goal against Chile in the second group stage game and along with Naeher became a two-time World Cup champion.
Ertz captains the Red Stars and has been one of the league’s premier players. Last season she was named to the NWSL Second XI, earning that accolade in four of the five seasons throughout her career. She has helped the Red Stars reach the NWSL playoffs in four consecutive seasons.
Australia’s Sam Kerr made history at the World Cup in her final group stage game. With four goals that night, she became the only player born outside of the U.S. to score more than three goals in one tournament game. Her five goals in four games played placed her fourth on the golden boot list.
Kerr is the best striker in NWSL history, holding the record for all-time career goals and goals in one season. In 2018, Kerr became the first player in league history to score 50 career goals en route to her second-consecutive Golden Boot. Kerr is once again the best goalscorer in the league this season with 13 goals in 16 games played for Chicago.
Naeher was the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s National Team for this summer’s World Cup, helping them win their second-consecutive tournament. In seven games she allowed only three goals and earned four clean sheets, which was a tournament best. Her marquee moment came in the semifinals against England. With the U.S. WNT leading by one goal, Naeher’s penalty-kick save in the 83rd minute prevented the equalizer and lifted the U.S. to the World Cup Finals. It was the first-ever penalty kick save by a U.S. goalkeeper in regulation time at a World Cup.
For Chicago, Naeher has made nine appearances this season. She has three clean sheets and 27 saves in 810 minutes played. One of the best goalkeepers in league history, Naeher is second all-time in NWSL minutes played and appearances for any goalkeeper in the NWSL.
The FIFPro World XI was selected by more than 3,500 of the world’s best players and will be announced during the Best Football Awards on September 23.