Whether you’re still in college or you’ve left your collegiate years behind, chances are good your experiences differed just a bit from those of Florida State’s Deyna Castellanos.
Castellanos, a sophomore in Tallahassee, spent her freshman year splitting time between Florida State’s women’s soccer team and the Venezuelan national team, competing in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Despite only playing in 13 of FSU’s 22 games, Castellanos led the team in goals with seven as a freshman. With the Venezeulan national team, she scored five goals in seven games at the World Cup and set the all-time record for scoring in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with 11 goals.
Suffice to say, it was a busy year.
Now a sophomore, Castellanos certainly isn’t slowing down: she has nine goals in eight games this season for the Seminoles. However, she’s beginning to reap the honor and recognition that comes along with putting up such prolific numbers:
It was announced Friday that Castellanos has been nominated for the 2017 Best FIFA Women’s Player award.
(Yes, in the world.)
Castellanos is up for the award alongside Lieke Martens, a Netherlands national who plays for FC Barcelona, and U.S. national and World Cup hero Carli Lloyd, who plays for the Houston Dash and Manchester City along with the U.S. national team.
Lloyd, likely Castellanos’ strongest competition, scored 15 goals in 11 international matches in 2016, including six goals in six Olympic qualifying matches. She also added five goals in seven games with the Dash.
Lieke, for her part, dominated in 2016, scoring 17 goals in 26 appearances for FC Rosengard before joining FC Barcelona this year.
It’ll be tough for Castellanos to bring the award home, but her stellar 2016 puts her right in the middle of the conversation.
Castellanos is also up for a more specific award, the FIFA Puskas award for the “most beautiful” goal of the year. Her nominee for the award is a goal she scored at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in stunning fashion: after Cameroon tied its match with Venezuela in stoppage time, it seemed neither side would emerge victorious. Instead, Castellanos took the ball from kickoff and launched it half the pitch, catching the Cameroonian keeper off guard and giving Venezuela the dramatic victory.
The names of some of Castellanos’ competitors for the Puskas award are staggering, including stars like Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, Barcelona’s Moussa Dembele and Juventus’ Mario Mandzukic, among others.
A sophomore at Florida State being on equal footing with some of the sport’s biggest stars? It's a surprising thought, to be certain. But Castellanos has earned it at every level.