If you’ve been watching the USWNT, you know that Sophia Smith had an outstanding year. However, if you needed further confirmation, she has now taken home the title of US Soccer Female Player of the Year to cap off her 2022 accomplishments.
World Cup roster spots are precious commodities and Sophia Smith, more than anyone, has made a compelling case to be on board when the team heads to New Zealand/Australia this summer.
Many teams experience growing pains as they make the inevitable transition from a veteran-heavy team to a youth-centered one. The USWNT has been no exception having dropped three matches to England, Spain and Germany in the waning months of 2022.
Yet throughout roster changes and disappointing losses, Sophia Smith has remained a constant source of hope. Despite her youth and relative inexperience at the senior team level, she looked right at home all year twisting and turning defenders and watching her shots rattle the back of the net.
Sophia Smith was a menace in front of goal
Smith led the USWNT team in 2022 with 11 goals and dominated the NWSL with 18 goals, earning NWSL league and championship MVP honors. If there was an award to collect, she got it. If there was a record to break, she broke it.
Through a touching zoom call, 37-year-old USWNT teammate Becky Sauerbrunn was tasked with breaking the exciting news to Smith that she had won the Player of the Year Award. As teammates for club and country, Sauerbrunn and Smith are the anchors of both teams, providing different but equally vital components to each team’s success.
Though a minor injury will make Smith unavailable for the USWNT January friendlies, she will inevitably be a dominant force for the team in the months leading up to the World Cup.
USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski has many difficult decisions to make before July. But Sophia Smith remains an exclamation point in a sea of question marks. One player down, 22 to go.