Sophia Smith stands as the lone U.S. women’s national team player among the 30 nominees for the 2023 Ballon d’Or Féminin.
The Portland Thorns star led the NWSL and the USWNT in goals in 2022, with 18 for her club team and 11 for her country. The NWSL MVP also helped lead her team to the 2022 championship. While the 23-year-old is dealing with a post-World Cup knee injury, she again leads the NWSL Golden Boot race with 11 goals.
No other USWNT player made the long list for the prestigious award, presented by “France Football” magazine. And just one other NWSL player — Brazil and Kansas City Current forward Debinha — made the cut.
Among professional leagues, England’s Women’s Super League led the way with 12 players, followed by Spain’s Liga F with 10. Germany’s Frauen-Bundesliga followed with four, and then the NWSL and France’s Division 1 Féminine with two. Among club teams, Spain’s FC Barcelona led the way with six.
Spain (6) and England (4) were the only national teams with more than two players on the list.
Spain’s contingent included Aitana Bonmatí, who won the World Cup Golden Ball, and Olga Carmona, who scored the game-winning goal against England in the tournament final. England’s nominees included captain Millie Bright and goalkeeper Mary Earps.
One notable name not on the list: Spain’s Alexia Putellas, who won the trophy in 2021 and 2022. The 29-year-old spent most of the last year recovering from an ACL tear, though she did return for Spain at the World Cup. England’s Beth Mead, who finished in second place, did not make the list either due to her own ACL tear last November.