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Thorns announce 2017 club awards

AD Franch named MVP; Sonnett, Raso, and Sinclair also recognized

The Thorns announced their 2017 club awards in a press release today, honoring players in four categories. AD Franch was named MVP, to go along with her Goalkeeper of the Year award from the NWSL. The club also named Emily Sonnett Defender of the Year, and honored Christine Sinclair with the Golden Boot and Hayley Raso as the Supporters’ Player of the Year.

Franch set a new single-season record for shutouts, with 11, and led the league with an 80% save rate; she was also named the Thorns’ community MVP this year, and can really rock a bowtie. Sonnett co-starred on Portland’s league-leading back line and notched four goals in the regular season. Both she and Franch played every minute in 2017.

Raso’s award was already announced by the Riveters at the beginning of October. Beyond tallying six goals and three assists in the regular season, Raso claimed her place in club history by tallying a brace against Seattle at Memorial Stadium, leading the Thorns to their first-ever win there.

Absent from the list of awards was a Rookie of the Year. Presumably, that omission is owing to the fact that the 2017 Thorns had no rookies who got substantial playing time—although they could have gone with a “newcomer of the year,” as they did in 2015 (when it went to McCall Zerboni), for which Ashleigh Sykes would have been the obvious shoo-in.

The Thorns’ full press release is below:

PORTLAND, Ore. – Following the conclusion of the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League season, four Portland Thorns FC players were named recipients of club awards for the 2017 campaign.

Highlighting this season’s list of award winners in the club’s fifth season are Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, defender Emily Sonnett and forwards Hayley Raso and Christine Sinclair.

Most Valuable Player; Community MVP – Adrianna Franch

Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year in her second season with Thorns FC. A Best XI selection, Franch finished the regular season with a record of 14-5-5, recording 80 saves and 11 shutouts, starting all 24 matches for Portland. The Salina, Kan., native set an NWSL single-season record for shutouts, leading the league in 2017, while also posting an NWSL-best 80.0 save percentage and ranking tied for fourth in saves. In addition, Franch was selected as the team’s community MVP – an award given to the individual who made a significant impact in the community, committing their time and efforts through the clubs’ community platform, Stand Together – on Oct. 1 at the club’s annual Stand Together Banquet.

Defender of the Year – Emily Sonnett

Defender Emily Sonnett was one of four Thorns FC players to start every match for the club in 2017. In her second season with Portland, Sonnett tallied three goals and one assist during the regular season. Sonnett helped lead the league’s best defense in 2017, which posted a 0.83 goals-against average and equaled the top goals-against average in a season in NWSL history, while also conceding the fewest goals (20) in the league and posting 11 shutouts.

Supporters’ Player of the Year – Hayley Raso

Voted on by Thorns FC fans and presented after the team’s final regular-season home match on Sept. 30, forward Hayley Raso was named Supporters’ Player of the Year. The Australian international tallied six goals and three assists during the regular season, appearing in 22 matches (20 starts) for Thorns FC. Raso tallied her first career NWSL goal on June 28 against FC Kansas City and also scored her first career NWSL brace in a 2-1 win on the road against Seattle on Aug. 26, earning her first NWSL Player of the Week honors. In addition, Raso registered her first career NWSL playoff goal in a 4-1 semifinal win against the Orlando Pride on Oct. 7 at Providence Park.

Golden Boot – Christine Sinclair

Forward Christine Sinclair was the recipient of the team’s Golden Boot award with a team-best eight goals. Sinclair was one of four players to start in all 24 matches, logging 2,143 minutes – setting career bests in both categories. Sinclair’s eight goals equaled an individual single-season high as she opened her Thorns FC career with an eight-goal season in 2013. Additionally, Sinclair became the club’s all-time leading goal scorer (31 goals) with the game-winner on the road against Boston on Sept. 10, while also tallying a pair of braces (June 28 vs. FC Kansas City, Sept. 2 vs. Washington Spirit).

2017 Portland Thorns FC Club Awards

Most Valuable Player; Community MVP – Adrianna Franch

Defender of the Year – Emily Sonnett

Supporters’ Player of the Year – Hayley Raso

Golden Boot – Christine Sinclair