The fan voting has closed for AFC Women's Player Of The Year leaving only the expert panel to finalise who will be crowned the best player of 2020, three Australians have been nominated and each of them would be a deserving winner.
The current superstar of Australian football, Kerr has won or been nominated for countless individual awards in her career, but for 2020 she left Perth to join rising European giant Chelsea in what was the biggest move in women's football at the time.
Her 2020 included an assist on debut, a back heel into the path of Bethany England while running at full pace, and a trademark leap and header to score against Arsenal with what proved to be a vital goal when the FAWSL season was decided with Chelsea crowned champions.
Team success continued with more silverware, a League cup triumph in February was followed by a Community Shield victory to start the current season in a high quality match against Manchester City in which she was unlucky not to score.
2020 has seen Kerr steadily grow into the new surroundings and has hit her best form, she has scored seven goals in nine league appearances and opened her account in the Champions League with a well-taken finish against Benfica.
At International level, Kerr arrived at the Olympics qualifier under an injury cloud and began the tournament on the bench, she gradually was managed to full fitness where she was decisive in Australia defeating Vietnam in the playoff round, scoring twice in the first leg and once in the second.
Put simply, Kerr is getting it done in one of the most high profile competitions in European football and she is usually a starter in a team packed with world-class internationals. She has had to alter and adapt to the new game plan and team mates and suffered through harsh criticism from the British press, despite this the Matildas captain has continued to be one of the very best forwards in the world and is possibly a better player than when she last won the award in 2017.
The Arsenal attacker is no stranger to AFC awards, having won best young player in 2011 and been crowned player of the year in 2016, but the past 12 months have seen Foord performing at her very best in the FAWSL and for the national team.
With Kerr nursing a quad injury, Caitlin Foord was made the spearhead of the Matildas attack for the Olympic Qualifiers in February, she responded with a brilliant performance against Taiwan scoring three times in a dominant performance including a goal where she danced around the keeper with delightful close control to start the year off spectacularly.
Foord began the current season with Arsenal as a squad player, the London club was a well oiled and machine led by a successful and fluid attack but Foord took her opportunities and has become a fan favorite and one of the side’s best performers alongside superstar Vivianne Miedema.
Foord’s 2020 numbers are startling at club level, with nine goals and five assists in 18 matches. Her year has been a highlights reel for all her best qualities.
Her ability to run with the ball, play with her back to goal and rotate between the middle and either flank has made her an outstanding performer for Arsenal and Australia. If she adds another individual award to her growing list of accolades it would be no surprise.
Even her misses are spectacular:
The only Australian nominated this year to have not won this award before, Ellie Carpenter enjoyed a 2020 that exceeded even the high expectations we have become accustomed to.
She was a strong contributor in Australia’s undefeated Olympic qualifying run and departed Australia after winning the W-League Grand Final with Melbourne City and claiming the best young player award for the third year running.
Her signing for Lyon is still possibly the biggest move by a young Australian footballer, the winner of the last five Champions League titles are the peak of club football and Carpenter has become a key member of that prestigious side.
Faced with the huge but daunting opportunity of replacing Lucy Bronze at right back Carpenter has risen to the challenge and not looked out of place at the highest level, the Lyon fans agree, recently voting her the best new signing of 2020.
Carpenter, although still only 20 years old has become a first choice player at the biggest and most demanding club in world football, she is a player at the very peak of the sport who may still be reaching her frightening potential.
If she is to win her first AFC best player award, it is unlikely to be her last.
𝐶𝑒𝑠 𝟹 𝑗𝑜𝑢𝑒𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑛𝑡 𝑠𝑖𝑔𝑛𝑒Ì 𝑎Ì€ 𝑙'𝑂𝐿 𝑒𝑛 𝟸𝟶𝟸𝟶 𝑒𝑡 𝑜𝑛𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑣𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑢 𝑝𝑎𝑟 𝑙𝑒𝑢𝑟 𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑡 ! âœ¨— OL FÃ©minin (@OLfeminin) December 28, 2020
Qui d'Ellie Carpenter, Sara BjÃ¶rk GunnarsdÃ³ttir ou Sakina Karchaoui est selon vous la 𝐑𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐝𝐞 𝐥'𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐞Ì𝐞 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟎 ? 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/PJdaIgJcOw