SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) announced its list of 2015 NWSL Awards finalist for the Most Valuable Player, Defender of the Year presented by Coppertone® from Bayer HealthCare, Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year and Best XI.
In the Final Round, owners, general managers, coaches, players, media and fans will vote from now to Sept. 11 at 5 p.m. ET to determine the individual award winners and Best XI.
Two West Coast Conference soccer alumni are listed among candidates for major awards. Current Chicago Red Stars and former Santa Clara teammates Sofia Huerta and 2016 FIFA Women’s World Cup star Julie Johnston are finalists for Rookie and Defender of the Year respectively. Johnston captured Rookie of the Year honors last season. Both Huerta and Johnston captured WCC Player of the Year honors.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Sofia Huerta – Chicago Red Stars (From NWSL)
The Santa Clara product had a strong start to her rookie season with the Chicago Red Stars. Huerta started her scoring streak against Boston in early May with two goals and an assist; this also marked the first goal of her professional career. From there the rookie went on to score four more goals over the next five games and assist on two others to finish the season with six goals and three assists. The forward was the first player in NWSL history to earn Player of the Week in two consecutive weeks in May. She subsequently won Player of the Month for May. When she wasn’t scoring, Huerta’s well-timed runs and speed made her a dangerous attacker that challenged defenders league-wide throughout the entire season.
DEFENDER OF THE YEAR
Julie Johnston – Chicago Red Stars (From NWSL)
The 2014 NWSL Rookie of the year continued to build on her achievement and dominance on the field this season. Only appearing in 11 games for the Chicago Red Stars due to her success at the Women’s World Cup, Johnston’s consistency and composure was critical for the Red Stars back line. Despite her height of 5’7”, the central defender is dominant in the air in protecting the Red Stars goal. Showing off her versatility as a player, Johnston has been a contributor to the Red Stars attack. She has provided two assists in her 11 games this season, but also been the catalyst for Chicago’s attack, finding critical passes forward to her teammates.