Earlier this week, U.S. Soccer announced the five nominees for the 2014 Female Athlete of the Year. This year's field features midfielders Lauren Holiday and Carli Lloyd and forwards Sydney Leroux, Christen Press and Abby Wambach. The winner will be named Saturday during the Final Draw for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Wambach has won the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year six times, more than any other player. Mia Hamm was the previous record holder with five. Carli Lloyd also won the award in 2008.
FC Kansas City star Lauren Holiday was the 2007 Young Female Athlete of the Year.
Making the case for Holiday
Holiday's club coach, Vlatko Andonovski got a chance to see her every day with FC Kansas City the last two years and is not shy about saying good things about his midfielder.
"One thing that makes her special is being a leader on and off the field as well. She always helps out everyone making and making everyone around her better," Andonovski explained. "What she did on the field for us is pretty obvious throughout the season but then in the final she just made a statement."
With the Blues, Holiday was the leading scorer for the league in 2013 and in 2014 she became the playmaker, tied for second in assists but still scoring herself. With the National team, Holiday has played several spots but most recently U.S. coach Jill Ellis moved her to a holding mid role.
Andonovski knows why she is able to play so many roles for her teams, "she is not just a good midfielder, she is a good soccer player, a very intelligent player. She can play pretty much anywhere on the field because of the way she understands the game, her knowledge of the game. It will not take her a lot of time to adjust to any position she plays. Now playing the number 6 for the national team, she adapted to that very well and quickly looked like she played there all her life."
This year, a new voting process was put in place. Votes will be submitted from National Team coaches, staff, National team players who earned a cap in 2014, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer's Athlete Council, National Women's Soccer League coaches, select college head coaches and select media members.
It sounds like Andonovski will likely be voting for Holiday.