US women’s team and FIFA led soccer’s highlights and lowlights in 2015 – Los Angeles Times

It has been a year of celebration and controversy in world soccer, with the U.S. winning the largest and most competitive Women’s World Cup in history while FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, was embroiled in chaos after the U.S. Justice Department unsealed 41 indictments against high-ranking soccer and sports marketing officials.

Here’s a look at some of the key events of the last year and what to look forward to in 2016.

U.S. women win World Cup

Carli Lloyd’s first-half hat trick lifted the U.S. to its first Women’s World Cup title in 16 years, making Lloyd one of three finalists for FIFA’s player-of-the-year award and U.S. Coach Jill Ellis a candidate for the FIFA coaching honor. About 27 million TV viewers watched the women’s final in July, a record for a soccer game in the U.S.

FIFA scandal

It was a bad year for FIFA and its president, Sepp Blatter, whose scandal-plagued 17-year reign is over after the organization’s ethics committee suspended him and UEFA President Michel Platini for eight years. The suspension, which both men are challenging, stems from a $2-million payment made by Blatter to Platini in 2011 and comes at the end of a year in which the Justice Department indicted dozens of current and former soccer officials, charging them with fraud, bribery and corruption, among other crimes.

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