There are many women playing soccer at the highest level in Denmark. But for the past five years, only one of them has earned the right to be called the Football Player of the Year. And she’s just cleared the first hurdle in order to make it six in a row.
Pernille Harder has once again been officially nominated to be Denmark’s Football Player of the Year, according to her her Twitter feed. Harder, who identifies as a lesbian, has been playing professionally for VfL Wolfsburg in Germany’s Bundesliga since 2017.
Reacting to the news, Harder noted “it’s always a proud moment for me being acknowledged for the hard work and sacrifices I make to accomplish my goals and follow my dreams.”
Feeling so proud being nominated for the best footballer of the year in Denmark. It’s always a proud moment for me being acknowledged for the hard work and sacrifices I make to accomplish my goals and follow my dreams pic.twitter.com/DqEG0b0T9u— Pernille Harder (@PernilleMHarder) February 12, 2020
Harder made quite an impact for her home country while competing in UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 qualifying matches over the past few months, recording five goals in that span of time. This included a hat trick during Denmark’s 14-0 annihilation of Georgia on November 12.
That feat served as an impressive bookend for another Harder hat trick in Budesliga competition on September 11, which helped Wolfsburg dismantle Mitrovica 10-0. Over the span of two months, Harder collected hat tricks the way some of us collect Pokemon.
Off the pitch, Harder gained Internet fame earlier in 2019 when a photo of her kissing her partner and fellow soccer star Magdalena Eriksson went viral after Eriksson had helped her Sweden teammates defeat Canada in the Women’s World Cup.
As Harder reflected to The Guardian’s Nick Ames, “when we saw that photo and the comments around it, then it was really something; like, ‘We’re role models.’”
Shortly thereafter, Harder and Eriksson made further news by joining approximately 100 other athletes in donating one-percent of their salaries to Play Proud, an organization dedicated to encouraging “LGBTQ+ adolescents to participate in sports at the youth-level with confidence” as well as creating a safe and welcoming environment to do so.
Harder is doing everything possible to help other young LGBTQ+ athletes develop their skills with the hope of eventually being named Football Player of the Year. Of course, she’d have to relinquish her hold on the award first. And it doesn’t look like that’s happening anytime soon.