Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/
  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/


NWSL Announces 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 NWSL season was full of historic events, controversy, and growth. However, as the league prepares for the final this Sunday, the 2016 NWSL awards were announced and they spread the accolades across the division. 


There is a clear path to the NWSL MVP it seems: simply score the most goals. While it obviously helps that her team is in the title match, Lynn Williams becomes the fourth consecutive player to win the Golden Boot and the MVP honors. She scored 11 goals in 19 appearances for the Western New York Flash on their way to a second place finish in the regular season. 

Williams was a part of and benefited from the high-powered WNY Flash offense that averaged two goals per match in 2016. Her goal tally was tied by Houston’s Kealia Ohia, but the award went to Lynn based on a high number of assists, five during the season.

Coach of the Year

After missing the postseason in 2015, Mark Parsons helped the Portland Thorns make a return along the way to winning the 2016 NWSL Shield. Parsons was announced as Coach of the Year, posting some impressive stats throughout the year. Portland averaged less than a goal a match against during his first year in charge, and went 12 matches unbeaten. 

While the Thorns fell in a dramatic semi-final last weekend, his impact in year one quickly turned this team around. They have the second best offense, a formidable home record at 8-1-1, and the largest goal difference (+15 in 20 matches). Mark takes the award from fellow Cascadia club manager Laura Harvey, who picked up the 2014 and 2015 awards for her runs with the Seattle Reign to back to back title matches. 

Rookie of the Year

While 2016 may not have been a breakout year for Sky Blue FC, it most certainly was an impressive 12 months for Raquel Rodriguez. After scoring the winning goal in the NCAA championship game for Penn State, she was awarded the 2015 MAC Hermann Trophy as the best collegiate player. Drafted #2 overall by Sky Blue FC, Rodriguez quickly solidified her place in the middlefield protecting the back line. 

With one goal and one assist, both of Rodriguez’s work was away from the stat line. She becomes the first Sky Blue FC player to claim the Rookie of the Year award. 

Defender of the Year

Becky Sauerbrunn’s, of FC Kansas City, reign as Defender of the Year has ended. After taking home the award in 2013 - 2015, Lauren Barnes of the Seattle Reign becomes the second player ever to get the honors. Barnes was a rock in Seattle’s back line, which they sorely needed as goals were hard to find in the first half of the year. 

Barnes and her fellow defenders posts eight shutouts in 2016, and she started all 20 matches for the club. At only 27, you have to wonder if USWNT coach Jill Ellis will consider Barnes a look considering she took the award from the team captain. With Keelin Winters retiring from the Reign backline, Barnes will be even more important heading into 2017. 

Goalkeeper of the Year

U.S. international Ashlyn Harris became the fourth different player to win the Goalkeeper of the Year award. She claims the honor, not mainly because of the end product of her team, but for how many shots she stopped during 2016 - 62. 

Harris won the NWSL Save of the Week award nine times this season, but the contest is basically a fan support contest that Orlando did a solid job promoting. She is the first player on an expansion side to claim a season end award. Interestingly, Hope Solo has never taken home the prize, mostly due to the fact she missing significant matches every year for US matches. Will 2017 be different? 

Catch the NWSL Title game on FOX Sports 1 this Sunday to 5 p.m. ET. 

Videos you might like