Google has released its list of the most-searched terms in 2016 for just about every category you can imagine. We took a look at the trending searches in the U.S. for women's soccer players, and here's who made the top ten.
(Note, this list is a little surprising, and it seems that Google must basing it on players who new highs in searches and "trended" throughout the year. Google doesn't divulge their methodology, so if you'll have to take up any skepticism with them.)
Searches for the fan-favorite known as "HAO" spiked when she played her last game for the USWNT on Sept. 15. O'Reilly made the Olympics as an alternate for the first time after playing in the previous three Olympics, in a roster decision that was a bit controversial. After the USWNT's Olympics ended early in disappointment, O'Reilly announced she'd retire for her country while still playing with FC Kansas City in the NWSL.
She makes the list as Jennifer Ruiz, but fans know her as Jenny Ruiz. It's not entirely clear why she is here though, since Mexico, the country she plays for, didn't make the Olympics like most other players on this list. Maybe Jenny Ruiz is a popular name in New Jersey and California, where the most of her searches came from.
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Search queries for the pro freestyler skyrocketed from July 24 to July 30. It might just be a coincidence, but we posted a video of Cowie's amazing freestyle skills on July 22 and it was shared on Facebook more than 100,000 times and was watched 10 million times. There were other smaller spikes in searches for her in May, June and this month. Her skills are indeed incredible.
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We aren't sure why Smith is on this list. She played for England like five years ago and it's not quite clear what she did in 2016 to make this list. At 36, she is still playing for Doncaster Rovers Belles in the FA WSL, though she was injured in July, which is the month searches for her spiked. But it's still a surprise to see so many Americans looking her up, and on a pretty steady basis throughout the year.
Maybe some people were searching for another Sue Smith? The first hit on Google when you search her name is the Wikipedia page for a murderer... yikes.
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Interest in Horan from internet-searchers came during the Olympics, like many players on this list, but Horan had a big 2016 in that she broke into the USWNT. She had been playing in France as the first American woman to go straight from high school to being a professional soccer player, but with the USWNT showing interest, she joined the Portland Thorns and solidified her spot.
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Search queries for Labbe rose sharply during the Olympics, where she was the starting goalkeeper for Canada. She helped lead Canada to a bronze medal in Rio in a disappointing but ultimately very positive finish for Canada.
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Google listed her as Alexandra Long, but we all know her as Allie Long – and 2016 was a big year for her. After years of trying to get a chance again with the USWNT, she had her big break and she made the roster for the Olympics, where she was a frequent starter. She was also excellent for the Portland Thorns in their Shield-winning campaign.
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After missing the 2015 World Cup squad just narrowly, she featured for the USWNT throughout 2016 and had a great year. She was one of the best Americans at the Olympics, and she helped lead her Washington Spirit club to the NWSL final.
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She became a phenom at just 17 years old for the USWNT earlier in 2016. By age 18, she was a starter for the USWNT in the Olympics and represented the future of American soccer on the women's side. It was a huge breakout year for the teenager, and it's just the beginning for her.
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Surprised? Neither are we. First, she offended Brazil when she mentioned she was concerned about the Zika virus and fans at the Olympics started chanting "Zika" at her. Then, she offended Swedes when she said Sweden played like cowards in the Olympics. Accordingly, U.S. Soccer decided that was the last straw and terminated Solo's contract, along with suspending her for six months. It was a controversial decision, given the timing of it, since Solo won't miss any games that actually matter now. Throughout the year, she was also a vocal member of the USWNT in their fight for better pay from U.S. Soccer, too.