The National Women’s Soccer League revealed its Best XI and Second XI as part of its year-end awards Thursday, featuring many of the United States women’s national team players that were away while winning the World Cup over the summer.
Of the Best XI, eight players were part of the World Cup winning team. Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and the Chicago Red Stars’ Casey Short and Sam Kerr make up the rest. Kerr is the only Most Valuable Player nominee to make the Best XI, while Short and Utah Royals FC’s Becky Sauerbrunn are Defender of the Year contenders who made the lineup.
The league’s second XI also featured a number of U.S. national team players, with five making the cut. MVP candidates Yuki Nagasato of the Red Stars and Kristen Hamilton of the North Carolina Courage joined the group, as did Defender of the Year nominees Abby Erceg of the Courage and Lauren Barnes of Reign FC.
MVP candidates and Courage teammates Debinha and Lynn Williams missed out on Best and Second XI recognition. Defender of the Year finalist Jaelene Hinkle also missed the cut.
The winners were determined through weighted ballots, voted on by players (40%), team owners/general managers/coaches (20%), media (20%), and fans (20%).
NWSL Best XI
Goalkeeper: Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit)
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars)
Midfielders: Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit)
Forwards: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC)
NWSL Second XI
Goalkeeper: Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders: Lauren Barnes (Reign FC), Abby Erceg (North Carolina Courage), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
Midfielders: Bethany Balcer (Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Yuki Nagasato (Chicago Red Stars)
Forwards: Kristen Hamilton (North Carolina Courage), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC)