To absolutely no one's surprise (well, for Canadians anyway), Canadian women's national team captain Christine Sinclair was announced as one of the ten finalists for FIFA's Women's Player of the Year award, while coach John Herdman was also named as one of the finalists for the women's Coach of the Year award.
Sinclair will be in elite company, which includes defending Women's Player of the Year Homare Sawa of Japan, five time winner Marta of Brazil, and four Americans: Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd. This is Sinclair's fifth nomination since the award was first handed out in 2001, a surprise honour that she attributes to the team's progress.
"It goes to show that the progress our team's made after finishing dead last in the World Cup, to winning a bronze medal." Sinclair told Waking the Red.
This comes despite FIFA's decision to suspend Sinclair four games for events that occurred during those same London Olympic Games, the exact reasons that have yet to be made public by either the federation or by the CSA.
Meanwhile, Herdman joins a list of nominees that include reigning champion Norio Sasaki of Japan, former USA coach Pia Sundhage, French skipper Bruno Bini and English coach Hope Powell. His quick turnaround of the Canadian women's program after the dismissal of Carolina Morace, Sinclair says makes him a worthy winner. "The team he took over was deflated and broken, (and) had no chance of winning a medal at the Olympics, and he completely changed that around, gave us confidence, and just brought the fun back."
The decision for who wins will rest on the shoulders of journalists and national team coaches and captains. But before a winner is announced at a Zurich gala on January 7th, Sinclair and Herdman will need to make the top 3, which will be revealed on November 29th.