Scotland’s Kim Little has won the 2016 BBC’s World Women’s Footballer of the Year. This is the second year that the award has been run and is voted for by the public, and is run by the BBC World Service.
Kim, who plays for Seattle Reign, beat Gaelle Enganamouit (FC Rosengard, Sweden), Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyonnais), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash) and Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City) to the award.
Speaking to the BBC, she said “[I’m] extremely happy and humbled to win this Women’s Footballer of the Year [award], especially coming from [the] BBC. We’ve got a great team here, great players, staff and owners and I’m glad to be a part of this club so it’s nice to share this with them.”
Kim was presented with the trophy by former USA footballer Shannon MacMillan who won Olympic Gold in 1996 and the World Cup in 1999, during training at the Memorial Stadium in Seattle. Her win was announced on Sport Today (16.30-17.00BST) on BBC World Service on Tuesday May 24th
Reflecting on her past year and achievements and the state of the women’s game, Little said: “To be honest I’ve not looked back over it too much but [I’m] extremely proud of the season we’ve had here with Seattle Reign… then to go over to Australia and play in a different league and to do well there. Also to hopefully lead Scotland into the European Championships next year… we hope to continue our good form there too.”
“I think women’s football is in a great place and I think especially in terms of the USA and where I’m playing right now, it’s leading the way. I’m proud to have won this award and to stand up here for women’s football and hopefully it will progress further.
Mary Hockaday, Controller of BBC World Service English, said: “Well done to Kim Little. It’s been another outstanding year for women’s football and Kim’s talent shines through on the pitch. I’m delighted BBC World Service plays an important part in giving female footballers the recognition they deserve.”
She was Seattle’s leading scorer – and second in the league – with 10 goals in 2015, while topping the assists rankings on seven. The Reign finished the regular season in first place before a 1-0 defeat in the Championship final against FC Kansas City.
At just 25 years old, she’s already won 115 caps for Scotland and has scored 46 goals, having made her debut at 16 in a 2-0 friendly defeat to Japan on the 14th February 2007. Her first goal came at the 2008 Cyprus Cup in Scotland’s 3-2 defeat to Russia. Kim’s 50th cap came in the 2010 Cyprus Cup in Scotland’s historic win over England where she scored the opening goal. She reached her century of caps on the 13th September 2014 as Scotland beat Faroe Islands 9-0 in a World Cup qualifier – and she marked the occasion with a goal. Kim is also a former captain of Scotland’s U19 team.
Along with fellow Scottish player Ifeoma Dieke, she played in the 2012 Olympics Women’s Football Team for Great Britain, the only two non-English players in the squad. She played in all five of GB’s games.
Having come through the Buchan Girls youth set up, she joined Hibernian’s youth team in 2005 – before progressing to their first team in 2006, making her debut in the Champions League against Espanyol. During the 2006-07 season with the Edinburgh club, she won all three of the available domestic trophies, winning every single game in the league. During her 48 appearances for Hibs, she scored an incredible 88 goals.
In 2008, she made the move down south to join Arsenal Ladies, where she continued to have incredible success, winning the league four times (including the first two Women’s Super Leagues), the FA Cup three times and the League Cup four times. Her final league win, 2012, saw Arsenal go the season unbeaten. In 2010, she was named the FA’s Women’s Player of the Year and in 2013, she became the first recipient of the PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year award.
Little moved to America to Seattle Reign in 2014, joining her ex-Arsenal boss Laura Harvey who had made the same move the year before – and scored twice during her debut for her new club. In both of her two seasons, she won the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Shield, before going on to lose the play-off.
This winter, she joined fellow Scot, Jennifer Beattie on loan at Melbourne Victory, helping them to win the 2015-16 W-League.
BBC Sarah Mulkerrins presents the coverage of the award which includes interviews with Little, her coach, her team-mates and Shannon MacMillan. The quotes comes from the BBC World Service.