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Megan Rapinoe has added another award to her collection after the United States star beat Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan to win the Ballon d'Or Feminin.

The 34-year-old became a World Cup winner for the second time in July, claiming both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot in France as her six goals helped Jill Ellis' team retain their trophy.

That led to Rapinoe being named The Best FIFA Women's Player in September and she has now succeeded Ada Hegerberg by winning the second ever Ballon d'Or Feminin.

England and Lyon right-back Bronze finished second in the voting while Rapinoe's USA team-mate Morgan was third.

Rapinoe was not at the ceremony in Paris on Monday, but said she was shocked to be the winning the award.

"It's a bummer [not to be there]," she said.

"I congratulate all the nominees. I can't believe I'm the one winning it.

"I want to thank my team-mates, my coaches, my federation, to allow me to be the person who I am on the field and off the field.

"Thank you to my beautiful girlfriend Sue. I'm so sorry I can't be there, I know it's going to be insane but I'll do my best to get there next year."

Megan Rapinoe has added another award to her collection after the United States star beat Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan to win the Ballon d'Or Feminin.

The 34-year-old became a World Cup winner for the second time in July, claiming both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot in France as her six goals helped Jill Ellis' team retain their trophy.

That led to Rapinoe being named The Best FIFA Women's Player in September and she has now succeeded Ada Hegerberg by winning the second ever Ballon d'Or Feminin.

England and Lyon right-back Bronze finished second in the voting while Rapinoe's USA team-mate Morgan was third.

Jill Ellis says it is for other people to determine what her legacy is after she bowed out as head coach of the United States women's team.

The 53-year-old, who took over the reins in 2014, leaves after guiding the national team to successive World Cup triumphs in 2015 and 2019.

Her final match, a friendly with South Korea in Chicago, ended in a 1-1 draw.

Ellis, who was recently named women's coach of the year at the Best FIFA Football Awards 2019, would not be drawn on how her time in charge will be remembered, instead choosing to highlight the lasting relationships she has built.

Asked what her legacy would be, she told reporters: "I've been asked that question before and I kind of feel that's someone else's narrative to write. It's not about me writing my legacy or what I hope it will be. I've tried to do the best I can.

"I've tried to always give everything I have to this job – and with passion. I feel good about that. What people think about that is going to be their story to write. It's been great.

"I've had amazing staff, who mean the world to me. I'll miss them because as I said to them last night, they're my family.

"I think that's just been the best part of this job, building relationships. I'm not going to remember games so much, as I'm going to remember all these people that helped me get where I am."

While this is the end of her USWNT coaching career, Ellis will continue to work with the federation for at least the next year in the role of an ambassador, representing U.S. Soccer at various events.

 

Megan Rapinoe called on her fellow professional footballers to make the most of a "unique" opportunity to "change this world forever" during her acceptance speech at The Best FIFA Awards.

After collecting the women's individual honour at the ceremony in Milan on Monday, Rapinoe used the platform to speak out about some of the notable issues in the modern game.

The United States international declared how she had been inspired by Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly after the pair stood up to incidents of racism, as well as referencing other events that have highlighted the homophobia and inequalities that still exist within football.

Rapinoe finished by calling on those in attendance, as well as those watching on, to capitalise on the platform provided by the sport to make a difference for the future.

"Some of the stories that have inspired me the most this year: Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly, their incredible performances on the field but the way that they have taken on the disgusting racism that they have had to face this year, but probably throughout their whole lives," the 34-year-old said.

"The young Iranian woman who eventually set herself on fire because she was not able to go to the game, the one 'out' MLS player and the countless other 'out' LGBTQ female players who fight so hard not just to play the sport that they love but also to fight the rampant homophobia that we have.

"Those were all the stories that inspired me so much, but they also made me a little bit sad and a bit disappointed.

"I feel like that if we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring is if everyone other than Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly, if they were so outraged about racism as they were.

"If everybody else was that outraged as the LGBTQ players, if everybody was outraged by the equal pay, or lack there of, or the lack of investment in the women's game, that would be the most inspiring thing to me.

"We have such an incredible opportunity being professional football players, so much success – financial and otherwise – we have incredible platforms. I ask everyone here to lend your platform to other people, lift them up and share your success.

"We have a unique opportunity in football, different to any other sport in the world, to use this beautiful game to change this world forever.

"I hope you take that to heart, do something, anything. We have incredible power in this room."

Rapinoe secured The Best award for the first time in her career, edging out fellow nominees Alex Morgan and Lucy Bronze after winning the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the Women's World Cup in France.

Megan Rapinoe has won The Best FIFA Women's Player award for the first time in her career, securing the prize ahead of fellow finalists Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan.

Rapinoe receives the individual honour after playing a starring role in the United States’ triumph at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

The 34-year-old scooped the Golden Boot after scoring six goals, while she was also lifted the Golden Ball after being judged the best player at the tournament.

Morgan also finished with the same number of goals in France, though missed out on the scoring crown by virtue of playing more minutes than her compatriot.

The 30-year-old striker – who has surpassed a century of goals in her illustrious international career – was the only one of the trio to previously be nominated, finishing third in 2012.

Meanwhile, the coach's award went to Jill Ellis, who made history at the Women’s World Cup.

The USA boss became the first coach to win the tournament for a second time, having also led them to glory in the 2015 edition in Canada.

Bronze, meanwhile, was a key member of the England squad that reached the last four, following on from an outstanding season for Lyon that included helping the French club lift the Women’s Champions League for a fourth successive season.

Rapinoe and Morgan were joined by compatriots Kelley O'Hara, Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz in the FIFA FIFPro Women's World11.

As well as Bronze, there were also places for Brazil legend Marta, Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, Sweden's Nilla Fischer and France duo Wendie Renard and Amandine Henry.

 

FIFA FIFPro Women's World11: Sari van Veenendaal, Lucy Bronze, Nilla Fischer, Kelley O’Hara, Wendie Renard, Julie Ertz, Amandine Henry, Rose Lavelle, Marta, Alex Morgan

President Donald Trump has held talks with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino about how women's football can become "more equitable".

Trump, who openly rowed with star player Megan Rapinoe during the United States' Women's World Cup triumph, met Infantino at the White House.

The US women's national team are embroiled in a long-running battle with US Soccer in a battle to secure pay parity with their male counterparts, a far less successful team on the world stage.

Trump has yet to make his position clear in that argument, but after talks with FIFA president Infantino he said: "Gianni and I just had a meeting on women’s soccer and what everybody’s going to do to make that even better and more equitable, etc etc."

Infantino added: "[In] women's soccer, where you are world champion, there is much more to do. The president was saying this to me and he is right.

"We are working with that and we will announce very soon some new initiatives."

Rapinoe said during the World Cup that she would not visit the White House if President Trump invited the team, triggering an angry response from the Oval Office. Trump suggested she had shown "disrespect" to her country.

The 34-year-old Rapinoe, who is gay and has used her platform to speak out on civil rights matters, refused to sing the US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, during the World Cup in France. She previously supported NFL star Colin Kaepernick when - in an action that was rebuked by President Trump - he took a knee before games during the anthem in protest at racial injustice in the US.

Rapinoe has also urged Infantino to make his voice heard in the equal-pay dispute.

Trump and Infantino were meeting primarily on Monday to discuss the United States' co-hosting of the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico.

"We are, as you probably know, getting the World Cup in 2026 for the United States," Trump said. "Some of it is a partnership with Mexico and Canada. It's coming into the United States for a large percentage of the games.

"We're very excited about it."

Phil Neville acknowledges he has been flattered by reported interest from the United States women's team but insists there has been no approach from the world champions.

Neville guided England to the semi-finals of this year's Women's World Cup, where they lost to the USA.

Victorious coach Jill Ellis will leave her role with USA at the end of October, though, and reports in England this week claimed Neville was a leading candidate.

But the ex-Manchester United defender, who is under contract with the Football Association until 2021, says his focus is on the 2020 Olympic Games, where he will lead Great Britain.

"There's been no approach," Neville told BBC Sport after England's 2-1 friendly defeat to Norway. "My focus is on winning us a gold medal in the Olympics.

"Beyond that, it's flattering because it means you're doing a good job. But my focus is England. I love this job, as I said before the game, and we've got a big job to do.

"We can see over the last two games [including a draw with Belgium last week] that the work is still in progress and we've still got a long way to go."

Neville was this week nominated for the FIFA's Best award for the top women's coach.

Afterwards, speaking ahead of the Norway game, the former England international defended his record and claimed England were lucky to have him.

"I have a vision that nobody else has," he said. "I've got bravery that no other coach has probably had.

"So, do you know what? Thank your lucky stars. I'm here. I'm here to stay. And I'm going to continue to keep improving.

"I've got a long way to go but I think, with the set of players we've got and with my philosophy, I think we can go a long way. I live and breathe it."

Eight countries remain interested in hosting the 2023 Women's World Cup as they prepare to submit a bid book to FIFA later this year.

FIFA confirmed the eight-strong shortlist for the tournament, which will be the first finals to feature 32 teams.

Japan are the only former champions to register a continued interest, while Brazil - who hosted the 2014 men's World Cup - are also on the list alongside Australia.

There is further South American representation from Argentina and Colombia. New Zealand and 2010 men's hosts South Africa are set to make a bid, too.

South Korea is the final country in contention, although the Korea Football Association has expressed its interest in a joint bid with North Korea.

There had been a record 10 interested parties prior to Monday's deadline to enter the bidding process, with Belgium - leaving no European options, months on from France 2019 - and Bolivia dropping out.

FIFA has dispatched the updated bidding and hosting documents, with bid books, signed hosting agreements and all other documents to be submitted by December 13.

Other countries hoping to join an existing bid can do so until this date.

FIFA inspections are set for January and February of next year, with the hosts to be officially appointed in May.

Belgium have become a record 10th potential bidder for the 2023 Women's World Cup, FIFA has announced.

The next finals will be expanded to 32 teams for the first time, with an unprecedented 10 member associations now officially considering staging the tournament.

Interest in hosting had already been confirmed by Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa, while there is also a joint bid from South Korea and North Korea on the table.

The deadline to join the bidding process was pushed back after FIFA confirmed an increase in teams taking part from 24 to 32.

Member associations now have until September 2 to inform FIFA if they wish to be entered into the bidding process.

After that deadline, interested parties have three months to put together bid books, with May 2020 set as the expected date of the final announcement.

The United States won the 2019 tournament in France, beating Netherlands in the final to defend their title.

China, Canada, Germany, Sweden and USA are the other countries to have acted as Women's World Cup hosts.

Lyon trio Ada Hegerberg, Lucy Bronze and Amandine Henry have been nominated for the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.

Hegerberg won the inaugural Ballon d'Or Feminin last year and will look to add the UEFA prize to her collection, having finished as runner-up in 2017-18 to Denmark and Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder.

The 24-year-old dazzled as Lyon won their 13th consecutive French title last season, scoring 20 goals in as many top-flight appearances along with seven in nine Champions League outings – crowning a magnificent campaign with a hat-trick in the 4-1 final victory over Barcelona in Budapest.

However, Hegerberg did not participate in the World Cup, having not represented Norway since the 2017 European Championship due to frustrations over the standing of the women's game in her homeland.

Lyon colleague Bronze did feature in France, playing a starring role in England's second consecutive run to the semi-finals.

The former Manchester City right-back is the first English nominee for the award.

Midfielder Henry completes the nominees having finished third behind Harder and Hegerberg last time around.

Henry was runner-up in 2014-15 and 2015-16 – to Hegerberg on the latter occasion – making her four nominations a new record in the award's seventh year.

The Women's World Cup will expand from 24 teams to 32 beginning with the next tournament in 2023, FIFA announced on Wednesday.

The FIFA Council unanimously approved the proposal to increase the field by eight teams, which Gianni Infantino said was in response to the "astounding success" of the 2019 edition.

Infantino said: "[The World Cup in France] made it very clear that this is the time to keep the momentum going and take concrete steps to foster the growth of women's football. I am glad to see this proposal - the first of several - becoming a reality."

As the bidding process for the 2023 tournament has already started, the FIFA Council decided not to wait until its next scheduled meeting in Shanghai in October to make the decision.

The timeline set forth in Wednesday's announcement said existing bidders must reconfirm their interest in hosting, while any other eligible member associations can now express interest too.

Bid submissions are due by December, an evaluation report will be made by April 2020 and the appointment of the host or hosts is expected the following month.

"The expansion reaches far beyond the eight additional participating teams; it means that, from now on, dozens more member associations will organise their women's football programme knowing they have a realistic chance of qualifying," Infantino said.

"The FIFA Women's World Cup is the most powerful trigger for the professionalisation of the women's game, but it comes but once every four years and is only the top of a much greater pyramid.

"In the meantime, we all have a duty to do the groundwork and strengthen women's football development infrastructure across all confederations."

The nine parties interested in hosting are Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and a joint bid from South Korea and North Korea.

United States star Megan Rapinoe and three of her international team-mates are among 12 nominees for the Best FIFA Women's Player Award for 2019.

A first-time recipient will be named in Milan on September 23 after former winners Marta, Lieke Martens and Carli Lloyd all failed to make the shortlist.

Reign FC forward Rapinoe shapes as a strong contender after inspiring USA to glory at the Women's World Cup in France.

The 34-year-old scored six goals in five games, including one in the 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the final, to claim a Golden Ball-Golden Boot double.

Rapinoe's compatriots Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz are also in contention, as are England pair Ellen White and Lucy Bronze, who claimed the Silver Ball.

Right-back Bronze and striker Ada Hegerberg, last year's inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or winner, feature among four players from the Lyon side that won the Women's Champions League.

The list of contenders has been expanded to 12 from the usual 10 due to a tie in the number of votes received by some nominees.

 

The Best FIFA Women's Player nominees:

Lucy Bronze (Lyon & England)
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars & United States)
Caroline Graham Hansen (Barcelona & Norway)
Ada Hegerberg (Lyon)
Amandine Henry (Lyon & France)
Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars & Australia)
Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit & United States)
Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal & Netherlands)
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride & United States)
Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC & United States)
Wendie Renard (Lyon & France)
Ellen White (Manchester City & England)

Women's World Cup winners the United States will soon have a new head coach after Jill Ellis confirmed she is stepping down.

Ellis is quitting just weeks after leading the USA to a successful defence of the World Cup title, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday.

She plans to stay with the national team for their five-game victory tour, which starts on Saturday against the Republic of Ireland at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and will end in early October.

"The opportunity to coach this team and work with these amazing women has been the honour of a lifetime," Ellis said in a statement.

"I want to thank and praise them for their commitment and passion to not only win championships but also raise the profile of this sport globally while being an inspiration to those who will follow them.

"When I accepted the head coaching position this was the time frame I envisioned. The timing is right to move on, and the programme is positioned to remain at the pinnacle of women's soccer.

"Change is something I have always embraced in my life, and for me and my family this is the right moment."

The move comes as no great surprise, with Ellis' contract expiring on Wednesday, though there was an option to extend her stay through next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

While this is the end of her USWNT coaching career, Ellis will continue to work with the federation for at least the next year in the role of an ambassador, representing U.S. Soccer at various events.

The 52-year-old became the eighth head coach of the national team when she took over in 2014 after serving two separate stints as interim coach. She replaced Tom Sermanni after his dismissal.

United States forward Megan Rapinoe has echoed Serena Williams' comments on equal pay amid the Women's World Cup winners' ongoing fight for parity with the men's team.

Rapinoe scored the opening goal as USA beat Netherlands 2-0 in the World Cup final to retain their title during a tournament where the 34-year-old became a global icon.

The attacker also had a war of words with US president Donald Trump during the tournament in France after saying she was "not going to the f****** White House".

American players have been embroiled in an argument over equal pay with governing body U.S. Soccer for many years.

After losing the Wimbledon final to Simona Halep on Saturday, tennis great Williams bristled at a suggestion she should scale back her efforts to fight equal pay in order to concentrate on matching Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

And Rapinoe, speaking in an interview on NBC on Sunday, backed her fellow American and insisted she will also not be changing her outspoken approach.

"You know what? I'm gonna fight for equal pay every day, for myself, for my team, and for every single person out there," said Rapinoe.

"Man, woman, immigrant, US citizen, person of colour, whatever it may be. 'Equal pay,' as the great Serena Williams said, 'til I'm in my grave'."

Rapinoe, whose partner is basketball player Sue Bird, also defended her previous comments on Trump when asked what she would say to her fans who support the president and believe she should go to the White House.

She added: "I would try to share our message. Do you believe that all people are created equal? Do you believe that equal pay should be mandated?

"Do you believe that everyone should have health care? Do you believe that we should treat everyone with respect? Those are the basics of what we're talking about.

"I understand people feel upset or uncomfortable. There's feelings of disrespect about the anthem protest or things that I've said in the past. Ultimately, I am here, open and honest.

"I've admitted mistakes. I will continue to do that. I'll continue to be vulnerable and be honest and open and have that conversation."

The United States have opened up the biggest gap at the top of the women's FIFA rankings in history following their World Cup triumph.

Jill Ellis' side won their second successive title last Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the final in Lyon.

They remain in first place in the international standings but now boast a record gap of 121 points over second-place Germany, who lost to Sweden in the quarter-finals.

Runners-up Netherlands are up five places to third, their best ever position, while bronze medallists Sweden climb three places to sixth.

France stay fourth, with England, beaten by USA in the semi-finals and then Sweden in the third-place play-off match, slip two places to fifth.

The biggest movers are the Philippines (67th place, up seven) and India (57th place, up six), who are rewarded for strong showings in qualifying for next year's Olympic Games.

The list now comprises 158 teams, up from 155, which is also an all-time record.

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