Looking around some of the remarkable academies in youth soccer with all the facilities that they have it is sometimes easy to forget that a lot of coaches have to work in limited space. MORE
Be the best – Lieke Martens
Netherlands winger Lieke Martens was named The Best FIFA Women’s Player at a ceremony in London, beating last year’s winner Carli Lloyd of the United States. Ronaldo was The Best FIFA Men’s Player beating Lionel Messi and Neymar. Both also won the UEFA Player of the Year Awards.
Martens led the Dutch national team to the Women’s Euro 2017 title this summer and was named player of the tournament.
The 24-year-old scored three goals with two assists on home soil during the tournament, just weeks after signing for Barcelona.
Despite being right footed, Martens prefers to play on the left wing where she can take advantage of her technical ability and dribbling skills. She is a danger for opposing defences thanks to her pace and her eye for goal.
Lloyd won the first award last year following FIFA’s split with the Ballon d’Or, which she has also won for two straight years.
Florida State forward Deyna Castellanos, who starred for Venezuela at the Under-17 World Cup, was also named a finalist.
FIFA’s award, which covers the period from Nov. 20, 2016, to Aug. 6, 2017, is voted on by national team coaches, captains, selected media and fans.
Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman was also honoured as The Best FIFA Women’s Coach over finalists Nils Nielsen of Denmark and France’s Gerard Precheur.
It’s great to win all these honours – but the one I always looked out for was the ‘players’ player’ award. It tells a footballer they’ve won the respect of their team mates. And it’s usually won by that same player who has become regarded as the most consistent, trustworthy and level-headed.
In my Under-10s group, they are now at the age where they have stopped voting for their best friend, and actually give credit to the player who they feel genuinely deserves the award.
And when it comes to writing down their favourite, the response is usually quick – it doesn’t take them long to work out who they think is the best in the team.