56. Lydia Williams
It wasn’t the most settled year domestically for Lydia Williams, the Australian number one playing in only half the NWSL games after leaving behind Houston Dash for Seattle Reign mid-season.
For Australia, it was a different matter. Williams was outstanding between the sticks as the Matildas had a sensational 2017, winning the first Tournament of Nations, largely thanks to the 29-year-old’s shot-stopping ability.
In the opening match against the USA, Australia found themselves hanging on at times, but several great saves from Williams ensured Australia won 1-0 and went on to win the tournament.
Another year where Williams truly enhanced her reputation as one of the world’s best.
Alen Stajcic, Australia national team head coach says:
“I haven’t seen every goalkeeper in the world, but in terms of shot stopping I think she’s the best around at the moment. She’s produced so many moments that have won games for us this year at big moments, especially in the game against the USA that we won 1-0.
In the last 20 minutes they had two or three chances but Lydia made saves that not many other goalkeepers would have made, that’s where she showed her true worth in a critical game like that. But she’s been like that over the past three or four years for us, she’s definitely one of the hardest for strikers to beat.”
Kathryn Gill, former Australia international says:
“An excellent one on one shot stopper, who is comfortable with the ball and her feet, playing out from the back. Big game player, producing world class saves when called upon. Stays in the game and inspires confidence within her team.”