With Fran Kirby having recently won both the PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Year awards, it seems this may be a significant opportunity for women’s football to attain an influx of focus. This ideology seems to have been adhered to by influencers, with the nominees for the Women’s Footballer of the Year having now been outlined. Considering the voting concludes on the 8th May, with the eventual victor announced on the 22nd, there might be ample time for these players to showcase the reasoning as to why they may warrant the accolade. Yet, they may have already proven their credentials at the pinnacle, simultaneously motivating their colleagues to play at a similar standard in order to also be recognised. Considering these nominees were chosen by coaches, players, administrators and journalists, their achievements seem to have also bypassed boundaries. With their plaudits, therefore, attained from a multitude of different backgrounds, their talents may be prominent.
The nominees themselves seem to be from varied environments, representing clubs and countries from around the globe. As such, the award seems to be uniting the masses under a common goal, thus drawing further focus onto the benefits of the women’s game. Yet, the nominee who may warrant the largest degree of focus in Britain may be Lucy Bronze, most notably due to her vast experience representing England on international duty. Having amassed 57 caps, she may be able to draw upon national pride in her quest for victory, and advance upon the current wave of British sporting achievement realised in the Commonwealths. Considering she also transferred to Lyon in the summer, she may act as the catalyst in British sportspeople plying their trade abroad, and showcasing their capabilities to a wider range of people. Yet, this transfer may more poignantly highlight her proficiencies as a player, as whilst Lyon have won the Champions League on the previous two occasions, she seems well-equipped to boast a position in the eleven.
Whilst a panel of people who seem to be informed and experienced on the matter has indeed nominated these players, the ultimate decision seems to have been referred to the public. Their votes are required for any player to be referred to as the victor, and expand upon their ever-increasing repertoires. This may augment fan interaction within the sport, as supporters may play a pivotal role in proceedings, and make their voices heard. The sport may require this, with implementing increased fan involvement perhaps pivotal in the quest to advance the game. As such, hosting the vote in this manner may solely prove beneficial in expanding the sport’s reach.
This decision may therefore claim the plaudits, yet opting to declare these nominations during this period in the calendar may also warrant recognition. Considering the Men’s PFA awards recently occurred, a wide array of focus might presently be on a similar situation, with this potentially transferable to the women’s side. The organisers may therefore be showcasing their intelligence, striving to impact the women on a similar scale. With the award also championed by the BBC, a broadcaster with a large and prominent reputation, a wide reach may have already been attained, with this assisting in expanding focus.
With women’s football seeming to continuously be advancing in their quest to draw alongside their male counterparts, this award may solely serve to contribute to this goal. While the winner of the accolade may be important, with this player advancing their own causes in the process, it may be more important to focus on the benefits of the honour itself. Solely being involved in this experience may productively impact all the nominees, motivating them to achieve further on the pitch in order to continue being rewarded. With advancements also occurring in other areas of the game, the awards’ crowning glory may be its assistance in creating a more viable and credible pathway into professional football for women.
How might these awards increase the focus on the proficiency of the women’s game?