8. Alex Morgan
Just missing out on the top ten last year, Alex Morgan justifies her rise this year with possibly the best campaign of her career so far.
Already one of the most well-known names in the game, Morgan made the headlines early in 2017 when it was announced she would join European giants Lyon for the rest of their 2016-17 season.
In just a few months across the pond, Morgan helped Lyon to the treble, although an injury ensured she only played 20 minutes of the Champions League final against PSG.
It didn’t stop Morgan though, the striker returned to the USA with Orlando Pride and recorded some mighty impressive stats. In just 13 games, Morgan scored nine goals and assisted another four and made a major contribution as the Pride marched towards the play-offs for the first time.
Such was her contribution in just half a season, Morgan was named Player of the Month for August and named in the NWSL Second Best XI come the conclusion of the season.
Her year on the international stage was a slow burner, but she finally got her first goal of the year against Japan at the Tournament of Nations. It opened the floodgates, Morgan scored three in two games against New Zealand and another against South Korea before scoring in both end of season friendlies against Canada.
Jill Ellis, USA head coach says:
“Alex is a powerful striker that can finish with both feet. She is capable of delivering big goals in important moments, which is a great quality to have in your centre forward.”
Tom Sermanni, Orlando Pride manager says:
“Alex has, for me in my five years in the US with the national team and with the Pride, had the best form that I’ve seen her in. I think the first and most important thing is that she’s been fit and healthy. I think she’s come back from Europe very confident and I think she’s added different aspects to her game.
“In the past, people talked about her ability to score goals, which is still there. She has this innate ability to score goals with both feet, to sense chances and I think she’s even added to that this year. But the big thing she’s added to that this year and for our team is her link-up play and her ability to not just score goals but also to create goals.”
Heather O’Reilly, former USA team mate says:
“Alex’s game took yet another jump in 2017. She has always been lethal scoring goals, especially on her left foot. Alex is very dedicated to her craft and getting better, as proven by her time in Lyon. She now is one of the few Americans who can say that they won the Champions League, but playing for Lyon and playing with a talented Orlando team including Marta everyday has propelled Alex. First touch, composure, and runs are at another level right now. A great team mate because she has a good pulse on her teams and what they need.”
Lori Lindsey, former USA international says:
“A true striker who at any time can change the course of a game. Some of the goals she’s scored for us in big games are just phenomenal. You can’t teach what Alex has as she has the ability to score at any time, from anywhere.”