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Sam Kerr named first NWSL Players Association player of the year

The NWSL PA also named its rookie of the year and best XI.

Red Stars forward Sam Kerr signs the autographs for fans following a game between the Chicago Red Stars and the North Carolina Courage at SeatGeek Stadium on Sunday, July 21, 2019 in Bridgeview. The Red Stars won 2-1. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

The National Women’s Soccer League Players Association announced its own set of year-end awards Friday, with the Chicago Red Stars‘ Sam Kerr named the league’s player of the year.

The players association additionally gave its rookie of the year award to Reign FC’s Bethany Balcer and named its NWSL best XI. Shield-winning North Carolina Courage have seven players in the best XI, while Kerr and teammate Casey Short are the Red Stars’ representatives. The Washington Spirit’s Audrey Bledsoe and the Utah Royals‘ Becky Sauerbrunn complete the lineup.

The NWSL PA was created in 2018 and announcing end-of-season awards for the first time. While NWSL players can also cast votes for the awards handed out by the league, with their votes weighed more than the other voting bodies, these are the first awards voted on solely by the league’s players.

“[I] just want to say thank you so much to everyone who voted for me,” Kerr said in a video shared by the NWSL PA on Twitter. “It’s obviously an amazing honor to be voted on by your peers.”

The NWSL playoffs begin Sunday with the Courage taking on the Reign, and the Red Stars facing the Portland Thorns in the semifinals. The winners will meet for the championship match Sunday, Oct. 27, at Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, N.C.

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