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2022 NWSL Award Predictions

On October 14th, the NWSL announced the nominees for the 2022 NWSL individual awards. Here are the nominees and our predictions on who will win.

Nominees

Most Valuable Player, presented by Budweiser: Debinha (NC), Naomi Girma (SD), Alex Morgan (SD), Mallory Pugh (CHI), Sophia Smith (POR)

Defender of the Year: Alana Cook (RGN), Naomi Girma (SD), Sofia Huerta (RGN), Carson Pickett (NC), Becky Sauerbrunn (POR)

Goalkeeper of the Year: AD Franch (KC), Kailen Sheridan (SD), Phallon Tullis-Joyce (RGN)

Rookie of the Year, presented by Ally: Sam Coffey (POR), Naomi Girma (SD), Diana Ordóñez (NC)

Coach of the Year: Laura Harvey (RGN), Matt Potter (KC), Casey Stoney (SD)

Voting Methods

The preliminary voting round used a weighted scale:

  • Players (50%)

  • Owners/GMs/Coaches (25%)

  • Media (25%)

The final voting round for individual award winners, Best XI, and Best Second XI will also use a weighted scale:

  • Players (50%)

  • Owners/GMs/Coaches (20%)

  • Media (20%)

  • Fans (10%)

The NWSL announced that “award winners will be announced in the days surrounding the 2022 NWSL Championship game.”

Playoffs are not factored into the awards. Voting closed for fans on October 18 and the winners are planned to be announced leading up to the 2022 NWSL Championship.

2021 Winners

Most Valuable Player: Jess Fishlock (RGN)

Defender of the Year: Caprice Dydasco (NJNY)

Goalkeeper of the Year: Aubrey Bledsoe (WAS)

Rookie of the Year: Trinity Rodman (WAS)

Coach of the Year: Laura Harvey (RGN)



2022 NWSL Defender of the Year nominees, Sofia Huerta and Alana Cook, passing the ball to each other at the Portland Thorns vs. OL Reign matchup on September 21, 2022. Photo by Nala Burton for WSX
2022 NWSL Defender of the Year nominees, Sofia Huerta and Alana Cook, passing the ball to each other at the Portland Thorns vs. OL Reign matchup on September 21, 2022. Photo by Nala Burton for WSX

2022 Predictions

There were many players deserving of NWSL Award consideration this 2022 season, but only a few can make the cut to be nominated. Here are our predictions:

Most Valuable Player

Nominees: Debinha (NC), Naomi Girma (SD), Alex Morgan (SD), Mallory Pugh (CHI), Sophia Smith (POR)

Predicted Winner: Alex Morgan

Runner Up: Sophia Smith

Why? Alex Morgan had one of her best club seasons in her professional career, scoring 16 goals, 3 assists, and winning the Golden Boot for the first time. Five of those goals were penalty kicks, which is a skill in itself. Sophia Smith makes a great case with 14 goals and 3 assists in the regular season.

Defender of the Year

Nominees: Alana Cook (RGN), Naomi Girma (SD), Sofia Huerta (RGN), Carson Pickett (NC), Becky Sauerbrunn (POR)

Predicted Winner: Sofia Huerta

Runner Up: Naomi Girma

Why? Sofia Huerta had a strong offensive presence with 4 assists and 1 goal this season. She created chances in the final third while also contributing to the defensive line that supported Reign’s playoff run. While Girma was incredibly solid in her rookie season, Huerta’s attacking spice combined with OL Reign’s success is what made her stand out.

Goalkeeper of the Year

Nominees: AD Franch (KC), Kailen Sheridan (SD), Phallon Tullis-Joyce (RGN)

Predicted Winner: AD Franch

Runner Up: Kailen Sheridan

Why? AD Franch has guided the KC Current from a 10th place finish last season to an NWSL Final this season. It’s a shock that she hasn’t consistently been called up to play for the USWNT, as she could arguably be in the top three of the goalkeeping mix right now.

While Franch and Sheridan have been stellar, Katie Lund was robbed of a nomination. Lund had the same amount of minutes as Franch and made more saves, but also allowed more goals. This is certainly attributable to differing defensive strengths between the Current and Racing Louisville.

Rookie of the Year

Nominees: Sam Coffey (POR), Naomi Girma (SD), Diana Ordóñez (NC)

Predicted Winner: Naomi Girma

Runner Up: Diana Ordóñez

Why? Hands down, Naomi Girma. This one’s a no brainer. Girma is simply a world-class player who has the composure and stoicism of a veteran. She has been extremely impressive for the Wave in their first season that also happened to see them as semifinalists.

These other nominations were also incredible this season. Sam Coffey entered the NWSL in a really talented rookie pool, and just got unlucky. Diana Ordóñez would certainly be in the conversation if North Carolina had seen more success this season, as she finished with 11 goals, breaking the previous NWSL record for most goals scored in a rookie season (7).

Coach of the Year

Nominees: Laura Harvey (RGN), Matt Potter (KC), Casey Stoney (SD)

Predicted Winner: Casey Stoney

Runner Up: Matt Potter

Why? Casey Stoney and Matt Potter have both done great things for their teams this season. Potter lifting KC to a final after finishing near the bottom of the table last season is an amazing feat that should be celebrated. However, Stoney’s ability to find success with San Diego as a completely new expansion team should be recognized, as this is a very difficult task to accomplish. Finding cohesiveness and chemistry right away is not typical of any new squad and is a sign of many things, a great coach being one of them.


NWSL Championship

The NWSL Championship featuring the Portland Thorns and Kansas City Current will kick off this Saturday, October 29 at 8 pm ET at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. The final will air on CBS and stream live on Paramount+ and internationally on NWSL's Twitch channel.


Be sure to follow the Women's Sports Exchange on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok for exciting live Championship coverage.


This article was co-written by Women's Sports Exchange co-founders Michaela Alfano, Maggie Yan, Audrey Brown, and Emma Treptow.

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