Lyon Offside’s 2019 Women’s Player of the Year

Thirty-seven games, thirty-four wins, zero losses, and five trophies. All in all, not a bad 2019 for OL Féminin, which closed out a decade of dominance with yet another show of European–and even global–supremacy. We could be here until 2020 shouting out all the players whose show-stopping performances contributed to a hugely successful year, but before the calendar flips, we’ve picked our Lyon Offside 2019 Women’s Players of the Year.

Player of the Year: Dzsenifer Marozsan

When you think back on all the biggest moments of the year for Lyon, Maro is in the middle of all of them. Certainly the highlight was her opening goal inside five minutes in the Champions League Final, a made-for-Hollywood moment as she scored in her hometown less than a year removed from a pulmonary embolism.

But she also was instrumental in bringing OL to Budapest in the first place. Her free kick goal against Wolfsburg in the second leg of the quarterfinal put an end any hope of a German comeback, and she delivered a corner to the head of Amandine Henry for a goal against Chelsea in the first leg of the semifinal.

Maro can always be counted on for some pretty goals, but perhaps her best of the year was her stone-cold stunner to silence the pro-Carolina crowd and earn the ICC trophy for Lyon.

Among her many assists this season, a trifecta stands out: In March, she delivered the ball to Ada Hegerberg that provided the stoppage-time breakthrough against Grenoble in the Coupe de France semifinal; in August, her corner kick to the head of Wendie Renard secured a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid in stoppage time of the ICC semifinal; and in November, she made good on her promise to find a head other than Renard’s when she provided the assist on Saki Kumagai’s game winner against Paris Saint-Germain.

With seven goals and twelve assists in twelve league games so far this season, Maro shows no signs of slowing down this season. The biggest stars show up in the biggest moments, and Maro was there for all of them in 2019. For that, she earns Lyon Offside’s 2019 Player of the Year honors.

Runner Up: Ada Hegerberg

Speaking of showing up in big moments, the inaugural Ballon d’Or winner shown under the spotlight in 2019. Hegerberg banged home a hat trick in just 15 minutes in the Champions League final, reminding everyone just why she’s among the world’s most lethal goal scorers.

At just 24 years of age, she secured her spot atop the all-time leaderboard for Champions League goals, besting Anja Mittag’s 51-goal mark with her 52nd and 53rd goals against Fortuna Hjørring in October.

And after finishing as runner-up in last season’s D1 Féminine scoring race, she bounced back with a fury in the fall, recording 14 goals in 12 matches, and adding 5 assists for good measure.

In between scoring at one of the fastest clips in the game, Hegerberg has taken the time to speak thoughtfully and passionately about equality and respect in the women’s game, proving yet again that she’s not just among the best players in the game, but also among the most important.

Third Place: Lucy Bronze

In many ways, 2019 was the year of Lucy Bronze, as the English right back earned UEFA Player of the Year honors and the title of Dubai Globe Soccer’s Best Women’s Player, along with a second place finish in Ballon d’Or voting and the Silver Ball at the Women’s World Cup.

While her standout performance for England have earned many of the headlines, Bronze played a crucial role down the right side for Lyon all year. Her ability to successfully link up with a revolving door of right wingers–Nikita Parris, Delphine Cascarino, Shanice van de Sanden, and Amel Majri have all played in front of her at various points this year–has helped the squad stay flexible. And her picture perfect assist on Ada Hegerberg’s third goal in the Champions League final was a reminder of her flair for delivering dangerous balls into the box.

Bronze has emerged as a global superstar and a fan favorite in Lyon. But with rumors swirling about her potential return to England the season’s end, we’ll have to wait and see whether she returns to this list in 2020.

Honorable Mentions

Sarah Bouhaddi: Remember what we said about stars showing up in big moments? Sarah Bouhaddi did just that in 2019, standing tall in Lyon’s toughest games. She delivered big saves against Wolfsburg and Chelsea, including a crucial saved penalty from Fran Kirby.

She was also the only goalkeeper at the ICC to earn two clean sheets, including a player of the match performance against the North Carolina Courage. She has been as reliable as ever in league action, including preventing an embarrassing loss to Lille in February with two important saves. And her stops on Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Grace Geyoro in the penalty shootout against PSG brought home for Lyon the inaugural Trophée des Championnes.

Saki Kumagai: Jean-Luc Vasseur thought he might be able to live without Saki Kumagai in his starting eleven. Then he watched his team concede three goals to Stade de Reims in a catastrophically poor defensive performance, and that was pretty much the end of the sans-Kumagai experiment. Now Kumagai is back in her oft-overlooked, but crucial role in front of the Lyon defense, and the gang has gotten back to stringing together clean sheets.

And in a glorious reward for her years of excellent service, Kumagai was the hero in the season-defining match against PSG, heading home the only goal.

Wendie Renard: Please take a moment to respect this elite-level flex:

Agree with our picks? Is there someone we overlooked? Let us know on Twitter, @LyonOffside and @AScavs!

Header photo by Arianna Scavetti; all other photos via Dominique Mallen.

Podcast: Episode 11 – A Grinchy Lyonnais Christmas

Gather around the hearth, bring all the mulled wine you can carry—you will need the booze, trust us—because the Lyon Offside team is back with some depressing Christmas-time crisis stories. Join Arianna (@AScavs), Nicholas (@NicholasMamo) and Sam (@OZOL1950) as they break down the current impasse at Lyon.

Cover: S. Guiochon/Le Progrès

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Podcast: Episode 10 – Samba Cut Short?

It’s almost that time of the year again. By that, I most certainly don’t mean the Champions League group stage. I mean the annual retreat that Neymar likes to take back in his home country, Brazil. This year, Sylvinho might beat Neymar. Starved for the sweet taste of victory, Arianna (@AScavs), Nicholas (@NicholasMamo) and Sam (@OZOL1950) get together for an emergency reunion turned therapy session.

Cover: ol.fr

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Podcast: Episode 9 – Tousart, or not Tousart, that is the question.

Two wins in two matches? Zero goals conceded but nine scored? Who is this team impersonating as Lyon? This week, Sam (@OZOL1950) and Rabeeta (@OffsideBeet) are joined by Jorge Rodrigues (@jrod258), the admin for OL’s North American supporter’s group (@OL_ADN). The three of them discuss Lyon’s promising season start, squad rotation, Martin Terrier’s amazing hair, and to go along with this week’s Shakespearean theme, the rather Hamlet-esque drama unfolding around the club’s two senior goalkeepers. This podcast also features predictions for upcoming matches that are both depressing and bold. Have a listen below and let us know if Rabeeta needs help. You will also find timestamps for specific topics if you’d like to jump around. If there are any topics you’d like us to cover, just tweet at any one of us, or you can send us an email at LyonOffside@gmail.com.

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Jeff’s New Team vs. Jeff’s Old Team: Lyon vs. Angers Preview

Arguably, the battle between these two teams has already been fought. Lyon and Angers spent all of last week in negotiations over Jeff Reine-Adélaïde, former Arsenal reject turned Angers phenom. The final sticking point was whether The Jeffster could play against Lyon on Friday.

The answer was soundly no. Angers – also known as the French Juventus – did not feel like getting scored upon by a player who was just in their jersey a few days ago.

Friday, August 16th, 2019
Parc OL, Lyon
2:45 PM EST (20:45 CET)

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Out With The Youth, In With The Youth

“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough!” The cliche mantra that all aspiring young Olympique Lyonnais academy players whisper to themselves as they drift asleep every night, it’s also a mentality that runs rich through the veins of the clubs DNA. From the president Jean Michel Aulas and to the supporters Lyonnais and worldwide, it’s no longer a well kept secret that the club is topped to the brim with young talented players all fizzing to become the next breakout star, and add their name to the rich list of stars to have passed through the colours of Olympique Lyonnais.

Jean Lucas signed from Santos
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Lyon’s Transfer Window Swan Song

On Monday, new sporting director Juninho Pernambucano opened the door for another transfer – a necessary postscript to a busy and expensive transfer window. Who is Lyon’s Mister X? If you know, maybe let Juninho in on the secret, because he remains on the look-out for the perfect complement to Sylvinho’s squad.

Cover: ol.fr

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