NC Courage’s Kerolin voted NWSL MVP

SAN DIEGO — Kerolin, a 23-year-old Brazilian attacker in her second season with the North Carolina Courage, was voted the National Women’s Soccer League MVP.

The other finalists were Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith, the 2022 winner; San Diego Wave defender Naomi Girma; Portland midfielder Sam Coffey; and Kansas City Current attacker Debinha. The league did not release voting data.

In the NWSL’s 11-season history, Kerolin is the first South American-born player to win the award and fourth from abroad, joining Australia’s Sam Kerr, who won twice, Wales’s Jessica Fishlock and Scotland’s Kim Little.

With 10 goals, Kerolin finished second behind Smith (11) in the scoring race. She also had three assists.

The five MVP finalists were joined on the Best XI all-league team by Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell; defenders Ali Krieger (Gotham FC), Sarah Gorden (Angel City) and Sam Staab (Washington Spirit); and forwards Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego) and Lynn Williams (Gotham).

Juan Carlos Amorós, who in his first season with Gotham transformed a four-win team into a finalist, was voted coach of the year.

Gotham defender Jenna Nighswonger, the fourth overall draft pick out of Florida State, was voted rookie of the year. Girma, a U.S. national team starter at the World Cup, won the defender of the year award for the second consecutive season. Campbell won the goalkeeping award.

The NWSL season will culminate Saturday with the championship game between Gotham and Seattle’s OL Reign at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium. CBS will carry the match, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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