Boyds, Md., (12/6/19) – Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, forward Mallory Pugh and midfielder Rose Lavelle have all been named to The Guardian’s 2019 “Top 100 Female Footballers” list.
Bledsoe, who was named number 84 in the world, has earned many plaudits for her shot-stopping ability in her two seasons with the Spirit. a led the league in saves (86), recoveries (290), catches (25). and ranked second in the league for clean sheets (9) en route to winning goalkeeper of the year for the 2019 NWSL season. Bledsoe has plied her trade in the Australian W-League as well, leading the league in saves and taking home Goalkeeper of the Year for the 2018-19 W-League season.
Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke had nothing but praise for his critically-acclaimed keeper, saying: “Without wishing to sound disrespectful to other keepers in the NWSL… I’d say that Aubrey is currently the most complete keeper in the league. She deserved GK of the Year for the NWSL this season, and her call up to the latest USWNT camp was an absolute no-brainer.”
Pugh, at number 71, has now been named to the Guardian’s Top 100 list four consecutive years. Pugh scored her first-ever World Cup goal in 2019 during the US’s big win over Thailand. Pugh was an important part of the Spirit attack post-World Cup, finding the net against Chicago Red Stars and scoring a crucial goal in a win over the North Carolina Courage.
Burke was excited about what’s to come next from Pugh, saying: “Look for her to have a real spike in her performances in the coming year… I’d predict that she’s going to really get goals at both club and international level, especially if she occupies a more central role in 2020.”
Lavelle, at number seven, made her first appearance on the Top 100 list. The nomination adds to a breakthrough year for Lavelle, as she was also named to the FIFPro Women’s Best XI in Milan last September and placed eighth in voting for the Ballon d’Or Feminine. Lavelle is currently up for the 2019 US Soccer Female Player of the Year.
“She is undoubtedly the most enigmatic, creative and dangerous midfielder in the women’s game and she is still very young,” said Burke. “There are very few players that bring the ‘X factor’ to games. With Rose you have a player that can turn a result at the drop of a hat, with one audacious piece of skill. She is a joy to work with and an even greater joy to watch when she is on top of her game.”