San Diego Wave FC’s individual honors continue to roll in, as the NWSL announced on Wednesday Casey Stoney has been named 2022 NWSL Coach of the Year.
Stoney led San Diego to a historic season, as the expansion team became the first true expansion team in league history to reach the playoffs, before they won their first playoff game. Leading in the standings for much of the season, Wave FC finished as the 3rd place team by season’s end, a remarkable achievement considering past expansion teams’ best finish prior to this year had been second-last in the standings.
She led the most successful expansion team in @NWSL history.— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) October 26, 2022
LFG @CaseyStoney pic.twitter.com/F34wQSsaes
A former defender in her native England, Stoney’s team had the second-best defense in the season, allowing 21 goals in 22 games, anchored by rookie Naomi Girma and NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year Kailen Sheridan. Additionally, Stoney brought out the best in Alex Morgan on the club level, with the forward winning the NWSL Golden Boot, as she scored 20 goals on the year across all competitions for Wave FC. Throughout the season, her players complimented Stoney on emphasizing a safer atmosphere for players, where players could discuss tactics with her, and she sought to provide support services for a large crop of rookie players adjusting to their first adult job.
Stoney becomes the second woman to win NWSL Coach of the Year, joining compatriot Laura Harvey. She’s the first coach to win NWSL Coach of the Year in her first season in the league since Vlatko Andonovski in 2013, which was the league’s first season.
To say Stoney deserves Coach of the Year is an understatement. Yes, San Diego had a good squad with several exceptional players, but surely Stoney played a role in crafting the roster in the first place. Beyond that, her ability to combine those stars with rank-and-file players, both experienced veterans and rookies, and get consistent results, as an expansion team, is truly incredible. It’s an honor well deserved, and many congratulations to Casey on the award.
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