Torres: NWSL End of the Year Award Predictions

Bethany Balcer NWSL
TACOMA, WA — SEPTEMBER 29: Bethany Balcer #24 of Reign FC celebrates her goal with the bench, including head coach Vlatko Andonovski in the second half of the game at Cheney Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Tacoma, Washington. Reign FC won 2-0. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images).

As the 2019 NWSL season is coming to an end it is time to see who will be awarded the End of the Season Awards. These are my picks for this season’s award winners.

To see Rachael McKriger’s picks, click this link.

Most Valuable Player: Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars

Sam Kerr has, in no doubt, outdone herself this season. As of right now, she has had a total of 18 goals this season passing her own 2018 record of 16 goals. This has earned her the Golden Boot for 2019; her third consecutive Golden Boot. In addition, Kerr has earned ‘Player of the Week’ on multiple occasions this season which does not do justice the strong force that she has had on the field each week.

She has been an asset to Chicago’s team, leading them to a spot in the playoffs. Kerr can be the driving force to help Chicago win their first-ever semifinal in NWSL play. Kerr has shown her full potential this season while bringing herself and the Red Stars success.

Defender of the Year: Casey Short, Chicago Red Stars

After falling short of making the U.S. Women’s National Team for the World Cup, Casey Short didn’t let that stop her from dominating the defense of the Chicago Red Stars. Short was a standout defender in the NWSL this season. She was voted to the ‘Team of the Month’ six times. Short has proved several times this season why she should have made the USWNT roster and why she should be the lead choice for Defender of the Year.

Goalkeeper of the Year: Kailen Sheridan or Aubrey Bledsoe

It’s a tough choice for Goalkeeper of the Year, as all nominations have all stepped up in different ways this season. Kailen Sheridan is the only Sky Blue player nominated for any award. This says a lot for a team that was ranked last this season, but has won five matches this season. Sheridan is tied for most saves with Aubrey Bledsoe at 86 saves. Meanwhile, Spirit goalkeeper Bledsoe having full control of her box has given her a solid chance to earn this award against Sheridan.

Both goalkeepers are from teams who did not make the playoffs. Either would be a solid choice for the award.

Rookie of the Year: Bethany Balcer, Reign FC

That name should be enough to know she should be the obvious choice for Rookie of the Year. This is the type of player fans love to see thrive during the season. She’s not your typical player who comes from a well know NCAA school. However, she didn’t let that stop her.

Balcer has worked hard and showed her potential all season long. It’s shocking to receive a call to join the team two days before the home opener. It’s one of those moments where you have to step up. But, it was her dream, and she has been nothing short of amazing while building up her name for future success.

She was a player restless to give her best on the field and she has done just that. While becoming a key player for Reign FC,  she leads all the rookies with six goals and two assists. Vlatko Andonovski has put her in the perfect position to be this year’s Rookie of the Year.

Coach of the Year: Vlatko Andonovski 

Reign FC is a solid team and has been eyed for the finals. Vlatko Andonovski has nonetheless contributed to their success. Andonovski has had a complex season trying to a have a set rotation with his roster. From rookies, to injuries, and players like Megan Rapinoe missing, it’s not easy fitting each player into a certain position during a season.

However, Andonovski has been successful in just that. With many aspects of the team succeeding and giving the best opportunity for each player, he should be given credit as Coach of the Year. Perhaps even a title for Reign FC. No other coach this season has used their entire roster confidently and has had it show on the field.

 

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