The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Sheri­dan Robins By Paddy von Behr

WORLD CUP win­ner and hat-trick hero Carli Lloyd scooped the Women’s World Player of theYear award at the Bal­lon d’Or this week.

The 33-year-old scored three of the USA’S five goals as they lifted the world ti­tle in a dom­i­nant per­for­mance last sum­mer, beat­ing Ja­pan 5-2 in the fi­nal.

She beat hot com­pe­ti­tion to scoop the award, with Ger­many’s Celia Sa­sic and Ja­pan’s Aya Miyama also con­tenders.

The USA’s No. 10 boasts more than 200 caps and scored six goals at the World Cup. She was emo­tional when pick­ing up the award.

“Wow. It’s been a dream of mine,” she said. “I want to thank ev­ery­one that voted for me and ev­ery­one at US Soc­cer for their sup­port.

“I want to thank Jill (El­lis) and her coach­ing staff. I also want to thank my in­cred­i­ble team­mates as we all know it took 23 play­ers to win the World Cup.”

Lloyd made his­tor y by be­com­ing the first woman to score three goals in a World Cup fi­nal and, in turn, be­came the third Amer­i­can to win the pres­ti­gious award.

With 35 per cent of the votes, her win was em­phatic and her USA coach Jill El­lis was also vic­to­ri­ous, pick­ing up the Women’s World Coach of theYear award.

Eng­land coach Mark Samp­son came in a re­spectable third, hav­ing guided Eng­land to a bronze medal in the World Cup, while Ja­pan coach No­rio Sasaki fin­ished se­cond. WHIT­LEY BAY are al­ready run­ning out of Sun­days this sea­son, but the added con­ges­tion of a cup-tie with Ever­ton would be no prob­lem for man­ager Phil Cross.

Bay are gear­ing up for the big­gest game of their sea­son this af­ter­noon, when they wel­come Stoke City, high-fliers in the Women’s Premier League North­ern Divi­sion, to Hill­heads in the se­cond round.

The prize on of­fer is a third-round clash with Ever­ton, FA Cup win­ners as re­cently as 2010 and fi­nal­ists just two years ago.

ForWhit­ley Bay, who play their league foot­ball three tiers below the Tof­fees, this af­ter­noon’s clash is their sixth in the FA Cup al­ready.

That is equal to the num­ber of North East Re­gional Premier League games they have played as tor­rid weather in the re­gion con­tin­ues to plague the sched­ule.

Cross, though, is look­ing on the bright side.

“We have 20 Sun­days left be­tween now and the end of May and we have an FA Cup game, a county cup game and 16 league games,” said the man­ager.

“It’s go­ing to be a bit of a manic end of the sea­son. If we beat Stoke, it would be more con­ges­tion – but that’s a con­ges­tion I would be happy to have!

“Pretty much like the rest of the coun­try, we have had a hor­ren­dous spell of wet weather and on Thurs­day morn­ing we woke up to the white stuff.

“We just have to keep our fin­gers crossed. It is not ideal prepa­ra­tion for such a big game.

“When the draw was made, I think Stoke were joint top of the North­ern Premier, so ar­guably the best side we could have faced. If we were to progress, we would have prob­a­bly the best WSL 2 side – we have done pretty well with the draws.

“Up to now it has been a good cup run. The play­ers all know that’s the next draw, but there is no pres­sure. I’m just go­ing to say ‘go out there and see what you can get’.”

Vic­tory to­day would not be Bay’s first up­set of the com­pe­ti­tion, though it would be the most sig­nif­i­cant for the young side.

Cross took 14 play­ers to Tran­mere in the first round last month, seven of whom were un­der 18, while the old­est squad mem­ber is 29 and Molly Turn­bull reg­u­larly turns out at the age of 16.

A 3-2 win over the North­ern Divi­sion One side set up the Stoke clash, and Cross be­lieves his young side showed their nofear ap­proach that day.

“As we found out, it is a bit of a lev­eller if you can get your own team up for it,” he added.

“If we can per­form any­where near our best, we can give Stoke a good game.

“We are talk­ing about long travel for them. Be­ing lo­cated where we are, a home draw is ideal.

“I can’t imag­ine the pitch be­ing fan­tas­tic at this time of year and, with a cold north east wind blow­ing, you never know!”

WOW FAC­TOR: Carli Lloyd with her Bal­lon d’Or tro­phy

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