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NWSL Oct 28, 2022

Sophia Smith becomes youngest MVP in NWSL history at age 22

NEW YORK – The National Women’s Soccer League announced Portland Thorns FC attacker Sophia Smith as the 2022 NWSL Most Valuable Player. At 22 years old, the forward is the youngest player in NWSL history to be named the regular-season MVP.

Smith’s electric season, highlighted by a career best 14 goals in 18 matches, got off to a quick start in April when the forward tallied a goal in the Thorns’ regular-season opener. From there, the Windsor, Colorado native went on to lead her team in scoring, tallying a goal in more than half of Portland’s matches to set a new club record for goals in a single season.

In a year of stellar production for the attacker, Smith notched a league-high four braces, tying the NWSL single-season record for two-goal games. Smith was also perfect from the spot with three penalty-kick goals and served as the tone-setter for Portland with five game-opening tallies.

Additionally, the forward enjoyed a five-game scoring streak spanning from June 8 to August 5 where she tallied eight goals, earning herself June Player of the Month honors in that stretch. Smith was also named to the September/October Best XI of the Month thanks to a productive cycle that saw her record a trio of goals throughout the final two months of the regular season.

Smith also led the league in both shots (76) and shots on goal (49), accounting for nearly a third of the Thorns’ shots on target.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 Draft, Smith’s MVP nod marks the first major league award for the forward. She finished second in the 2022 NWSL Golden Boot race behind San Diego Wave FC attacked Alex Morgan.

Morgan finished second in MVP voting, while North Carolina Courage forward Debinha was third.

The list of five finalists was decided after a preliminary round of voting by?owners, general managers, coaches, players and media. The finalists were then voted on by fans, owners, general managers, coaches, players and media.

Voting Breakdown:
Preliminary Round: Owners/GMs/Coaches (25%), Media (25%) and Players (50%)
Final Round: Players (50%), Owners/GMs/Coaches (20%), Media (20%) and Fans (10%),

Full list of NWSL MVPs
2013: Lauren Holiday, FC Kansas City
2014: Kim Little, Seattle Reign FC
2015: Crystal Dunn, Washington Spirit
2016: Lynn Williams, Western New York Flash
2017: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC
2018: Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC
2019: Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars
2021: Jessica Fishlock, OL Reign
2022: Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns FC