FourFourTwo USA's 50 Best American Women's Players of 2017: No. 2, Samantha Mewis
The other half of the North Carolina Courage’s dynamic midfield pairing, Sam Mewis made a legitimate case for herself as the best American player of 2017. On a larger scale, Mewis has carved out a regular starting position on the U.S. national team, joining Becky Sauerbrunn as the only player to start all 16 games in 2017. And both club and country look good when she’s out on the field.
Mewis is the American player who best combines an ability to play the ball on the ground with the size, skill, and desire to be a factor when the ball is in the air. She has the ability to change the point of attack or spring a counterattack with a single touch, even when sitting deep, where she is best able to pull the strings. Mewis is also a favorite against most players to win 50/50 aerial balls in midfield and is always a target on offensive set pieces.
At the club level, Mewis spent 2017 collaborating with McCall Zerboni (No. 18 on our countdown). At the international level, the arrival of Julie Ertz in the midfield has allowed Mewis a bit more creativity and license to go forward.
She has thrived in both roles, a sign of a great player. Mewis is also something of an ironwoman. In three seasons in NWSL she has missed time only to be with the USWNT. Courage coach Paul Riley touts Mewis as a future national team captain, but she is very much the present for both club and country.