Five weeks after announcing the nominees, FIFA announced the finalists for the 2009 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Award from its headquarters in Zurich on Monday with three of the five finalists for the award having played in WPS during the Inaugural Season. Finalists who played in WPS, all of them selected as 2009 WPS All-Stars, include (country/2009 team):
Cristiane, BRA/Chicago Red Stars – The only player in WPS to notch a hat trick this season, her incredible long-range strike against FC Gold Pride in mid-July was one of the goals of the year this season in WPS. Finished with seven goals, fourth-best in WPS.
Marta, BRA/Los Angeles Sol – Winner of the 2009 Michelle Akers Player of the Year Award as the league MVP, Marta notched 10 goals and 3 assists to lead the Los Angeles Sol to the WPS Regular Season title and a spot in the WPS Championship game.
Kelly Smith, ENG/Boston Breakers – Tallied six goals in just 15 games in WPS this year to lead the Boston Breakers early charge to start the season as one of the best teams in WPS and winning WPS Player of the Month honors for April. Finished among the top five in WPS in goals and was a consistent threat in the offensive third with her dangerous left foot.
The other two finalists come from 2009 European Champions, Germany: Inka Grings and Birgit Prinz. Both Marta and Prinz have won the award three times and each is looking to win for the record fourth-time. The winner will be announced at the FIFA World Player Gala scheduled for December 21 in Zurich, Switzerland.