The winner of the 2022 Ballon d’Or will be announced Monday in Paris, capping off an incredible year of soccer filled with plenty of jaw-dropping performances.
Some of the sport’s biggest names, including Vivianne Miedema, Ada Hegerberg and Alex Morgan, are among the 20 players in the running for the prestigious award, handed out annually by France Football magazine. But who are the top contenders? Just Women’s Sports looks at three players who have stood above the rest.
Reigning Ballon d’Or winner Putellas once again tops the list of candidates. While the Spanish star missed out on this summer’s Euros after injuring her ACL days before the tournament, she made the most of the first half of the year as a domineering force for Barcelona.
Putellas had 18 goals and a league-high 15 assists as she led her team to its third-straight Primera División title. In total, Putellas scored 34 goals en route to a domestic treble with Barcelona.
The club also advanced to the Women’s Champions League final. While Barcelona finished as the runner-up to Lyon, Putellas was named the tournament’s best player and its top scorer with 11 goals.
She also became Spain’s most-capped player this year with 100 appearances, scoring four goals through seven appearances in 2022.
Any time Kerr steps onto the field for Chelsea, it’s guaranteed to be a show. The striker earned her second consecutive Golden Boot in the Women’s Super League last season en route to Chelsea’s third straight league title and second straight FA Cup.
Her 29 goals through 31 club appearances already have won her WSL Player of the Season, FWA Footballer of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and PFA Fans’ Player of the Year.
Sam Kerr wins the FAWSL Goal of the Season with this incredible improvisation 👏(via @BarclaysFAWSL)pic.twitter.com/6lcNpflrJI— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 25, 2022
Sam Kerr wins the FAWSL Goal of the Season with this incredible improvisation 👏(via @BarclaysFAWSL)pic.twitter.com/6lcNpflrJI
She also dazzled for her country this year, scoring five goals in Australia’s opening match of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup group stage. That number helped her surpass Tim Cahill (50 international goals) for the Australian international goal-scoring record.
She would add two more goals through the team’s remaining three games, winning the Golden Boot for the tournament with seven goals through four games.
Beth Mead’s run at the Euros helped England secure its first-ever title, with the star forward scoring six goals and adding five assists to win the Golden Boot. She also was named player of the tournament.
The success represented a stark turnaround and major comeback for a player that failed to make the roster for England’s Olympic team in 2021. In total, she’s made 15 appearances for England this year, scoring 13 goals in that span.
Mead also put on for Arsenal, scoring 12 goals through 26 appearances. That total includes 11 goals in the WSL — third-most behind Miedema and Kerr. Her eight assists were tied for the most in the league alongside Ella Toone and brought her career total to a WSL all-time high of 36.
Named to the shortlist for a multitude of WSL awards, Mead was named Arsenal’s player of the season.