Kelly Smith has been named on the shortlist for the 2005 FIFA Women's Player of the Year.
The FIFA World Player of the Year Gala is fast approaching once again, and, on 19 December, the best male and female footballers of 2005 will be crowned.
The female shortlist of 24 players has been drawn up by various FIFA experts, with members of the Committee for Women's Football and FIFA Women's Competitions.
Birgit Prinz collected her second trophy as FIFA's Female Player of the Year in 2004, and Arsenal and England midfielder Kelly Smith is one of the names in contention to replace her
On hearing the news, Kelly told TheFA.com: "Naturally it is a real honour to be considered worthy of inclusion in this shortlist, and after the season I had last year when I was hampered by injury, it is a real buzz to be nominated.
"I think all the England squad demonstrated during Women's Euro 2005 how far the game has come in this country, and we are now all desperate to qualify for the World Cup in two years time."
Asked who Kelly herself would nominate, she said: "I think you'd have to choose Prinz because she is just so strong, and despite herself not playing at 100% during the Euros, she was still good enough to drive Germany to the title.
"I'd also have included France striker Marienette Pichon who is a real handful and who we will have to watch very closely when we face them in our qualification games, and also Solveig Gulbrandsen of Norway.
"She was outstanding when we played them at Barnsley in the build-up to the Euros and during the tournament showed what a great player she is, full of running and with a great range of passing, as well as an eye for goal."
Nine new names have entered into the picture this season, and Scandinavia lead the way with nine candidates; Solveig Gulbrandsen, Laura Kalmari, Satu Kunnas, Hanna Ljungberg, Hanna Marklund, Malin Moström, Bente Nordby, Cathrine Paaske Sörensen and Ane Stangeland.
This large Northern European presence is hardly surprising, however, considering that Norway reached the final of the European Championship, while Finland and Sweden both made it to the semi-finals.
The Americans are far less represented than usual, with just Shannon Boxx and Christie Welsh holding out hopes of claming the award. Welsh enjoyed a superb Algarve Cup tournament, in which she netted five goals.
Brazil's Marta gains recognition for a brilliant season with her Swedish club Umea, following an explosive 2004, and her team-mate Hanna Ljungberg (above) figures as well. Indeed, currently top of their championship, Umea have recorded 19 victories in 20 matches, with Marta hitting 19 goals and Ljungberg 18.
Last year's winner Birgit Prinz looks to have strong claims again in 2005. Decisive as Germany lifted the European Championship title, albeit hampered in the early matches through injury, she also picked up a German league crown with Frankfurt.
The other well-known star in contention is Mexico's Maribel Dominguez, who rose to prominence at the Olympic Tournament in Athens.
The winner will be decided by the coaches and captains of the female national teams and towards the end of November, FIFA will unveil a shortlist of three main contenders.