Katie McCabe, a native of Kilnamanagh in Tallaght, Dublin, has become the first-ever Irish player to be shortlisted for the prestigious Ballon d'Or Féminin, or Women's Ballon d'Or.
McCabe, who captained Ireland's Women's National Team during their first-ever appearance at the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer, is also the first Irish soccer player to be nominated for a Ballon d'Or since Cork native Roy Keane in 2000.
McCabe said on Wednesday that she is "very proud" to have been nominated for the Ballon d'Or "among the best in the world."
While the Ballon d'Or was first awarded in 1956, the Women's Ballon d'Or was only launched in 2018. Both are presented by the monthly magazine France Football, which says the Ballon d'Or is awarded by an international jury of specialized journalists, with one representative per country, the top 50 in the latest FIFA rankings - before the lists are published - for women.
McCabe has been shortlisted for the Women's Ballon d'Or with her Arsenal teammate Amanda Ilestedt.
Arsenal said on Wednesday: "Katie’s performances during 2022/23 saw her crowned our Player of the Season, as well as net the WSL Goal of the Season for her excellent effort against Manchester City.
"She played 21 times in our league campaign, and made a further 12 more appearances in our run to the semi-finals of the Champions League, with her displays in that tournament seeing her selected in the UEFA Team of the Season.
"She also lifted the Continental Tyres League Cup during a successful season at club level.
"Following that, she went on to captain the Republic of Ireland at the 2023 World Cup, scoring her nation’s first-ever goal in the competition against Canada. She featured three times at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand."
Speaking to Arseblog on Wednesday after landing on the shortlist, McCabe said: “It’s a first for an Irish women’s player so it’s a really nice accolade on a personal level but you can never achieve those things without your teammates.
“For me, it is always about the team and how we compete and win trophies together, that is why I play a team sport. I love picking up trophies with my teammates but it is always nice to be nominated for a Ballon D’Or- though I think it’s the first time I have said that!”
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The Ballon d'Or nomination is the latest accolade for the Irish 27-year-old who earlier this year scored Ireland's first-ever goal at a World Cup when her corner kick in the 2-1 loss to Canada went directly in.
Her Olimpico was nominated for FIFA's Goal of the Tournament.
For its fifth edition, the Women's Ballon d'Or goes from 20 nominated players to 30:
- Khadija Shaw (Man City)
- Mapi Leon (Barcelona)
- Mary Earps (Man United)
- Asisat Oshoala (Barcelona)
- Wendie Renard (Lyon)
- Katie McCabe (Arsenal)
- Jill Roord (Wolfsburg and Man City)
- Yui Hasegawa (Man City)
- Alexandra Popp (Wolfsburg)
- Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona)
- Debinha (Kansas City)
- Sam Kerr (Chelsea)
- Guro Reiten (Chelsea)
- Ewa Pajor (Wolfsburg)
- Patricia Guijarro (Barcelona)
- Daphne Van Domselaar (Twente and Aston Villa)
- Lena Oberdorf (Wolfsburg)
- Hinata Miyazawa (MyNavi Sendai and Man United)
- Millie Bright (Chelsea)
- Salma Paralluelo (Barcelona)
- Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns)
- Hayley Raso (Man City and Real Madrid)
- Amanda Ilestedt (PSG and Arsenal)
- Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich)
- Olga Ramona (Real Madrid)
- Fridolina Rolfo (Barcelona)
- Rachel Daly (Aston Villa)
- Alba Redondo (Levante)
- Linda Caicedo (Real Madrid)
- Kadidiatou Diani (Lyon)
The award ceremony for the Women's Ballon d'Or 2023 will take place at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris on October 30, where the winner will be announced.