2022: The Year of Sophia Smith.
.@sophsssmith had herself a YEAR!— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 6, 2023
‣ #USWNT leading scorer ⚽️
‣ @NWSL MVP ☝️
‣ @NWSL Championship Game MVP
‣ @BioSteelSports Female Player of the Year
Portland Thorns star forward and United States Women’s National Team rising star Sophia Smith has just been voted the 2022 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. Smith received 50.8% of the vote with Alex Morgan finishing in second with 18.4%, respectively.
She is the first black woman to win U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year.
After being drafted #1 overall in 2020, Sophia Smith’s accolades continue to pile up.
Resume is getting longer than a Target receipt— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) January 6, 2023
Smith was also named the youngest ever NWSL MVP and the NWSL Championship Game MVP in 2022 after setting a new club single-season record and scoring the game winning goal in the final versus Kansas City Current.
With 11 goals for the US Women’s National Team and 14 goals for the Portland Thorns in 2022, she is only the fourth player to score double digit goals for her NWSL club and the USWNT (Wambach 2013, Leroux 2013, Press 2015).
Captain Becky Sauerbrunn Breaks the News to the POTY
TFW @beckysauerbrunn crashes your Zoom to break the Player of the Year news— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 6, 2023
Congrats @sophsssmith! pic.twitter.com/YzdbEUPm4O
Sophia Smith on being voted USWNT POTY:
“Obviously this is surreal, and I’m super humbled. It’s been a very exciting year, and certainly there’s been some challenges, but just being able to grow and develop in the environments with the National Team and the Thorns, and being surround by such amazing players, players that I have looked up to for so long, has pushed me to become a better player and person.”
“I’ve said many times, if you embrace these environments, you have no choice but to get better and grow, and that’s a testament to the players, coaches and all of the staff. I appreciate everyone holding me to such high standards day in and day out. This award wouldn’t be possible without all those people, and the best thing about it, is that it’s fun too. The journey is so much better when you are doing something so fun and something you love.”
- Smith is the first ever player to be named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, NWSL MVP, NWSL Championship Game MVP, and NWSL First XI in one year.
- This makes back-to-back Portland Thorns players winning this award with Lindsey Horan winning last year.
- Former Thorns coach Rhian Wilkinson said of Smith after conclusion of 2022 season (Attacking Third Podcast): “She could easily be the best female player to ever play.”
- Former Thorns coach Mark Parson on drafting Sophia Smith #1 overall in 2020: “Bringing her to Portland to be on our side, she’s got qualities and physical abilities to be a world-class player. And the difference-maker is always mentality, and that’s where she thrives. Incredible mentality to want to learn, want to grow.”
- Sophia Smith herself on if her success has sunk in after the NWSL Championship celebration: “Yeah, a little bit. I feel like since we’ve got back, we had a little more time to take a step away and really reflect. It’s starting to hit me and it’s a good feeling, but I’m just excited for next year. I know it’s soon to say that, but I’m excited for next year because I think we can do it again.
What was your favorite Sophia Smith 2022 moment for the USWNT or Portland Thorns? Let us know below in the comments!