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#SJA2022: The case for Beth Mead

Ahead of the members vote for the Sports Journalists’ Association British Sports Awards, we asked members of the SJA Academy to make their case for contenders to win sportsman, sportswoman and team of the year. ABBIE INGHAM with the case for Lionesses superstar Beth Mead.

Beth Mead has had a sensational year with both Arsenal and England, making the 27-year-old is arguably the most in-form player in women’s football.

She was part of a Lionesses side that inspired a generation of girls after an unforgettable Euros final at Wembley, beating Germany 2-1 in extra-time to win England’s first major trophy since 1966.

Mead was the tournament’s top scorer with six goals as well as five assists, which saw her take home both the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament honours.

This achievement marked a stark turnaround from 12 months prior, when she missed out on the GB squad for the Olympic Games and fell out of favour with England after a lacklustre season with Arsenal.

The forward is now a pivotal figure in Sarina Wiegman’s side after helping them to Euros glory.

Since then, Mead has continued to impress on the international stage, as England wrapped up their 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign with ten wins out of ten games, Mead contributing 13 goals and 12 assists.

Mead also had her career-best season in the Women’s Super League, registering 11 goals and eight assists, overtaking Karen Carney to become the league’s all-time leading assist provider.

She created 72 chances, a notable 24 more than anyone else, as Arsenal finished runners-up in the WSL.

They also made it to the quarter-finals of the Champions League as Mead finished the season with 14 goals and 19 assists in 40 appearances across all competitions.

Most recently, Mead finished runner-up in the illustrious Ballon d’or Feminin, losing out to Barcelona’s treble-winning star Alexia Putellas.

And she is showing no signs of slowing down, starting this season with Arsenal in similar goal-scoring fashion, bagging two goals in their sensational 5-1 Champions League win over holders Lyon.

Off the field, Mead and her England teammates are using their new platform to make a difference, fighting for all girls to be given the opportunity to play football in school.

Earlier this year, Teesside University, where Mead attended whilst playing part-time for Sunderland, launched a Beth Mead Scholarship to support talented female students pursuing a professional career in football.

The Lioness legend in the making has also spoken openly about her sexuality, as she hopes to set an example for LGBTQ+ discussions in the men’s game.

In a year distinguished by individual success at both an international and domestic level, England and Arsenal’s player of the year is a role model for women and young girls across the country.

Full members can vote here for their full choice.