USWNT star Rapinoe: 'FIFA doesn't really care' about women's soccer

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Erich Schlegel
The inclusion of Venezuelan amateur player Deyna Castellanos on the Best FIFA Women's Player of 2017 shortlist has upset the midfielder

FIFA's shortlist for its 2017 female player of the year proves that soccer's world governing body "doesn't really care" about the women's game, U.S. women's national team star Megan Rapinoe told BBC Sport on Monday.

At issue is the inclusion of Venezuelan amateur player Deyna Castellanos, 18, along with U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd and Dutch forward Lieke Martens on the list of finalists for Best FIFA Women's Player of 2017. That shortlist was reached, the organization said in a statemement, with input from national team coaches, national team captains, media representatives and fans.

"If some random male player, who was not even a full professional, was nominated, I'm sure {FIFA) would step in for that, so it's disappointing that the same hasn't been done for us," Rapinoe said, in response.

By comparison, the players on the shortlist for the men's 2017 award are Barcelona's Lionel Messi, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

Castellanos, a striker who plays collegiately at Florida State and for a California pro-am side, has never represented Venezuela at the senior or even U-20 level.

Meantime, players such as Australia forward Sam Kerr, who became the all-time leading scorer in the National Women's Soccer League in the U.S., and England striker Jodie Taylor, who was the top scorer at Euro 2017, were left off.

Kerr's reaction to the snub: "Not surprised really; it's FIFA"

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Rapinoe — who won Olympic gold with the U.S. in 2012 and the World Cup in 2015 and has 127 caps — says the shortlist smacks of an organization that is "old, male and stale."

"It signals to us and it signals to the rest of the world that FIFA doesn't really care," she said.

FIFA will hand out its awards Monday in London.

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