Arsenal forward and winner of this year’s Golden Boot at the women’s Euros, Beth Mead has been crowned BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2022. The annual award from the BBC World Service is voted for by football fans from around the world.
On winning the award, Mead said: “I don’t think I’ve quite processed it yet, obviously it’s a huge honour for me, appreciation and thank you to everyone that voted.”
Thanking her teammates, Mead told the BBC: “I wouldn’t have got these without my teammates throughout the season at Arsenal and throughout the season for the international team.
“Sometimes you can be quite lucky with the people that you have around you, and they’ve supported me and given me the confidence to put in the games that I did and come away with this.”
Mead also spoke of finding her strength in her mother, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2021.
“I think right now the strength that my mum off the pitch has given me… it’s been a difficult year for my family, and for her individually, so she has been incredible,” she said.
“I’ve just been playing football while she’s been battling one of the hardest diseases that is known to anyone, so my biggest motivation and biggest moment is just my mum.”
Mead was voted winner of this year’s award from a shortlist of some of the biggest names in women’s football, including Chelsea and Australia forward Sam Kerr, who came second; Barcelona and Spain midfielder Alexia Putellas, who placed third; and nominees Wendie Renard, captain for France and Olympique Lyonnais, and VfL Wolfsburg and Germany striker Alexandra Popp.
The BBC surprised Beth at the Arsenal training ground where she was presented with the award by her former England teammate, Ellen White, who was also a part of the victorious team at the Euros this summer.
Speaking of Beth, Ellen White, England’s record goalscorer, told the BBC: “I think she can go on to score so many goals for England, the sky is the limit for her.”
Heaping praise on her teammate, she continued: “What she’s achieved in her career so far, and her development, and the way that she’s so focussed on her performance, and what she’s doing here at Arsenal – I think it’s incredible, and it bodes well for the England team”
Captain of the England squad, Leah Williamson told the BBC: “I’ve known Beth for a long time, since she was young. I’ve looked up to her, playing alongside her for Arsenal and England has been a pleasure.”
Celebrating Beth’s Golden-Boot winning performance at the Euros, Williamson said: “When a forward’s on fire, like she was during that tournament, it’s a good feeling for the team, because you know that as long as you play well enough the time will come or the moment will come.
“She’s got a big heart, she’s very sociable, always trying to make everyone laugh, and keep the mood lifted regardless of what she’s going through as a person,” Williamson told the BBC.
Mead has been voted the BBC Women’s Footballer Of The Year in the eighth year of the award. Previous winners include Vivianne Miedema in 2021, Lucy Bronze in 2020, Ada Hegerberg in 2019, Lucy Bronze in 2018, Ada Hegerberg in 2017, Kim Little in 2016, and Asisat Oshoala in 2015.
Liliane Landor, Senior Controller of BBC News International Services and Director of the BBC World Service, says: “I am thrilled Beth Mead has been named Women’s Footballer of the Year. As a passionate Arsenal supporter, I’ve long been an admirer of Beth’s incredible footballing talent and over the years it has been brilliant to see the interest in women’s football grow and get the wider recognition it deserves.
“Following the success of the Euros, the award feels bigger than ever, and it’s fitting that Beth, who was an incredible talent for the England team, should be its recipient.”