The BBC World Service has revealed the five footballers shortlisted for the BBC Women’s Footballer Of The Year 2023 award. Voting is now open to the public on bbc.com/womensfootball.
In its ninth year, the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year award involves a panel of experts comprising current and former professionals, coaches, and journalists. They nominate their top five players from the past year. Subsequently, the global public has the opportunity to vote online for their standout player.
The nominated footballers for this year’s award are:
Aitana Bonmati – Barcelona and Spain
Mary Earps – Manchester United and England
Sam Kerr – Chelsea and Australia
Alexandra Popp – VfL Wolfsburg and Germany
Fridolina Rolfö – Barcelona and Sweden
Past recipients of the award include Beth Mead, a striker from England, Vivianne Miedema, a forward from the Netherlands, Lucy Bronze, an English defender, Ada Hegerberg, a forward from Norway, and Asisat Oshoala, a Nigerian striker.
Voting is free and accessible to the public on bbc.com/womensfootball. The voting period will conclude at 0900 GMT on Friday 3 November 2023, and the recipient of this esteemed award will be announced on Tuesday 28 November.
The past year has been an exhilarating period for women’s football, highlighted by the record-breaking Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Before the commencement of the voting, the BBC World Service engaged with the award nominees.
Reflecting on her past year, Aitana Bonmati told the BBC: “I think this year has been amazing for me, first of all winning the Champions League, for a second time with Barcelona, it has been so special.
“Then winning the World Cup, this kind of moment we are going to remember forever. I remember it was a great match for us, we deserved to win. I’m grateful to be part of these great teams. I remember when the referee blew the final whistle, I said ‘we did it! I can’t believe it’! I am lucky to be part of this generation, we are living these kind of moments I never thought I could live.”
Goalkeeper Mary Earps said, when speaking about her personal highlights of the last 12 months: “I feel privileged to have so many stand out moments. Obviously being a World Cup finalist, winning the FIFA Best Goalkeeper Award, reaching the FA Cup Final, being on the Ballon d’Or shortlist which is incredible as well.
“I’m really just enjoying being a role model to kids, to anyone who can take inspiration from the journey I’ve been on, being a beacon of light for people who’ve maybe had similar stories to me and see similarities in what I’ve gone through and know you can keep going – the best is yet to come.’
Sam Kerr talked about winning trophies with Chelsea, as well as reflecting on the Women’s World Cup and playing for Australia who were co-hosting this year, “We just think no matter what, we hope this team is remembered forever and we inspire the nation to believe in women’s football – and the lasting legacy is that hopefully we get the funding that the game deserves.
“I’ve always wanted to win, always (been) really competitive, it just drives you, when you win one trophy you get a taste of it. At Chelsea we’ve been lucky to win enough to grab a few trophies. Some people think it makes you content, but it just (makes you want to) win more.”
Alexandra Popp’s highlights of the year included clinching the Golden Boot in Germany for most goals scored and lifting the German Cup for an astounding 12th time.
On winning the Golden Boot in Germany, she says: “It was a great feeling, for me to play as a striker quite often last season, the reason for that was simply the Euros…I could be dangerous in front of goal. That it works out like this, no one would have dreamt that before.”
Discussing her year in football, Fridolina Rolfö told the BBC her highlight was the Champions League Final win: “I’ve been really looking forward to standing on top of the podium so it was a big achievement. Then me scoring the winner, that was a special one for me, maybe it’s the most important goal in my career.”
On Sweden winning the bronze medal at the World Cup, Rolfö reflected: “It was amazing. I’m so proud of what we achieved with the national team. In Barcelona we have individual players that can change a game, but in Sweden it’s different, it’s more like we do it together and that’s what makes us really successful.”
The public can cast their votes for free and obtain further information about the award on bbc.com/womensfootball.
The winner of the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2023 will be announced on the BBC World Service’s flagship news programme, Newsday, on Tuesday 28 November.