Three Canadians have been nominated for the prestigious Ballon d’Or, awarded to the world’s best soccer player. On the heels of winning Olympic gold this summer in Japan, Christine Sinclair, Ashley Lawrence and Jessie Fleming are all up for the 2021 award.
There’s 3 Canadians on the list for the Ballon d’Or. Long overdue recognition— Janine Beckie (@janinebeckie) October 8, 2021
Sinclair, who plays her domestic football for the Portland Thorns of the NWSL, captained Canada to Gold at Tokyo 2021 and is the all-time leading goal-scorer in international football with 187 markers.
Lawrence, the 2019 Canadian Soccer Player of the Year, also played a vital role on the national team this past summer, and at 26 years old, is growing into a superstar with both club (Paris Saint-Germain) and country.
Very happy and grateful to be part of the list of players nominated for the Ballon D’or 20/21 pic.twitter.com/KzW3cJNr73— Ashley Lawrence (@AshleyLawrence) October 8, 2021
The youngest of the group, 23-year-old Jessie Fleming of Chelsea FC, earns her spot on the 20-women shortlist after a breakout Olympic tournament with Les Rouges. If you can recall, Fleming dominated the midfield for Canada while also netting three pressure-filled penalties en route to winning Gold.
The other players on the 20-woman shortlist are Stina Blackstenius (Sweden), Kadidiatou Diani (France), Christiane Endler (Chile), Magdalena Eriksonn (Sweden), Pernille Harder (Denmark), Jennifer Hermoso (Spain), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (France), Sam Kerr (Australia), Fran Kirby (England), Lieke Martens (the Netherlands), Samantha Mewis (U.S.), Vivianne Miedema (the Netherlands), Sandra Panos (Spain), Irene Paredes (Spain), Alexia Putellas (Spain), Wendie Renard (France) and Ellen White (England).
Awarded by France Football magazine, the Ballon d’Or has been given out since 1956 but only started to hand out its women’s award in 2018. As a result of the pandemic last season, the awards were not given out. Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe were the respective winners in 2019.
This year’s winners will be announced Nov. 29, as 50 journalists who specialize in women’s football will decide the women’s winner.
No Canadian, male or female, has ever won the award – or finished top-3 in voting.