New Thorns FC goalkeeper Nadine Angerer displayed nerves of steel during the 2013 UEFA Women’s European Championship final between Germany and Norway, stopping a penalty kick in each half to help lead the Germany Women’s National Team to its sixth straight European title with a 1-0 win. She also won the Best Goalkeeper award at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup – not allowing a goal in a record-setting 540-minute span as Germany won its second World Cup title – so it’s safe to say that the phrase “impact player” is suitable in this context. Now, Angerer’s got another award to put in the trophy case – the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or, presented this morning to the world’s best male and female players.
Angerer beat out Western New York Flash forward Abby Wambach (who, herself had a tremendous year in 2013 by setting the all-time international goal-scoring record) and Brazilian forward Marta, thus becoming the first goalkeeper ever to win the highest individual honor in professional soccer since the award’s inception in 2001. Angerer is the first German to win the award since compatriot Birgit Prinz earned three-straight awards in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
“I have to say that I'm a little surprised, but very thankful,” Angerer told FIFA.com. “First of all I have to thank everybody that voted for me. I just want to pay my respects to Marta and Abby who have had an incredible year too.
“You never get a success like this on your own. I have to thank my teammates and my goalkeeping coach who raised me to a level that I never thought I'd get to. Also I have to thank the people in my private life, I have a great family who have been a great support to me over the years. My friends have also been very supportive to me. Thanks to everybody.”
The Lohr am Main, Germany, native spent the 2012-13 club season with 1. FFC Frankfurt in her home country before transferring to Australian W-League side Brisbane Roar following the UEFA Women’s European Championship in July 2013.
Angerer finished with 612 points, beating out Wambach (539) in a close race – Marta finished third with 493 points. Votes were tallied among 147 national team coaches, 146 national team captains and 88 media representatives.
Along with Angerer, Germany Women’s National Team head coach Silvia Neid took home the FIFA Coach the of Year Award for women’s soccer.
Before the field was narrowed to the three finalists, Thorns FC forwards Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair were part of the 10-player shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or.