Portland Thorns and the United States Sophia Smith has been voted the 2022 US. it. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
Smith, 22, won the award in a landslide, claiming 50.8% of the tabulated vote, easily outdistancing San Diego Wave forward Alex Morgan, who finished second with 18.4%.
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The award caps an outstanding season for Smith, who also won the NWSL MVP award with the Thorns – and is the youngest player to do so – as well as the NWSL Finals MVP.
She was also the youngest player to lead the U.S. it. in scoring since 1993 and is just the fourth player to win both the US it. Soccer’s Young Female Player of the Year, which she won in 2017, as well as the US Women’s Player of the Year. it. year, joining Tobin Heath, Julie Ertz and Lindsey Horan.
“Obviously it’s surreal, and I’m super humbled,” Smith said. “It’s been a very exciting year, and certainly there have been some challenges, but just being able to grow and develop in those environments with the national team and the Thorns, and being surrounded by such amazing players, players that I’ve looked up to For so long, has pushed me to become a better player and person.”
Smith is the 19th different player to win the award in its 38-year history and is the youngest USWNT player to win the award since 22-year-old Mia Hamm in 1994. Smith scored 11 goals for the US. it. in 2022 and started a team-high 17 games.
At the club level, she scored 14 goals for the Thorns in the regular season and then scored in the NWSL title game to help lead Portland to its third league title.
“This has been a great year for Sofia, and she deserves the recognition, but I’m just excited about where she can take her game from here,” U.S. women’s national team manager Vlatko Andonovski said. “She is a special player with special qualities, but the best thing is that she has the humility, work ethic and drive to continue to develop all aspects of her game.
“As coaches, she is a joy to work with because she is always looking for the edge to become better and more productive. As a person, she is a wonderful part of our team, a fantastic teammate and we look forward to her having an Another great team. Year in 2023.”
With 11 goals for the USWNT and 14 goals for the Thorns in 2022, Smith is the fourth player to score 10 or more goals for the USWNT and her NWSL club in a single year, joining Abby Wambach (2013), Sydney Leroux (2013) and Christian Press (2015).
While Smith won the award by a comfortable margin, the voting for US it. Soccer’s young female player of the year was much tighter, with the San Diego Wave’s Jaedyn Shaw prevailing after receiving 35.1% of the vote to get Alyssa Thompson, who claimed 34.4%.
“It means everything to me to be part of the list of players who have won this award, but it also tells me that I have so much work to do to continue to improve and grow,” Shaw said. “I just feel super honored and blessed and it’s an amazing way to start the year.
“I want to say thank you to everyone who voted for me and to all the national team coaches I have worked with since the under-14 level and to my coaches at the Wave. Thanks also to all my teammates who have pushed me And will continue to push me.
“All of this makes me even more excited to get going with the NVSL season and to get back into camps with the youth national teams. I’m just excited for what’s to come and I wouldn’t be where I am today without God’s grace and mercy throughout my life.”
Shaw, who turned 18 in November, signed her first professional contract with the Wave on July 18. She scored 28 minutes in her professional debut and went on to score in three of her first four professional matches. She also played in all three matches for the US. it. At the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup.
Votes for US it. Soccer Women’s Player of the Year and Young Female Player of the Year awards are collected from respective national team coaches, players who earned a cap in 2022, members of the U.S. it. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. it. Soccer Athletes Council, National Women’s Council Soccer League head coaches and select media members, administrators and college coaches. Fans are also able to take part in the voting, with their share weighted to 15% of the total.