After a record-breaking inaugural season, where San Diego Wave FC seemingly won everything outside of the NWSL championship, it's time to continue a yearly tradition we have here at LAG Confidential. End-of-season honors, as voted on, by you the fans! Typically we like to have categories for just about everything like Rookie of the Year, Defender of the Year, etc. However, with San Diego essentially sweeping NWSL awards season, we’ve decided to jump to the main event, MVP.
Alex Morgan had arguably her best season in the NWSL during her first season with the expansion side. In 18 starts Morgan scored a league-best 16 goals, served up three assists, had a 60% success rate in passing and led her side to an NWSL record for points accumulated for an expansion side. Oh, and the team also made it as far as the Conference Finals in just their first season together. If you're thinking, “surely Alex won league MVP” then congratulations, you're wrong. Morgan lost out on the honor by slim margins to eventual NWSL Champion, Sophia Smith who wasn't far behind Morgan in the goal tally, and did have arguably her best year in the NWSL as well. Perhaps what also helped Smith was not having a teammate who also had an MVP-caliber season, end up on the ballot to possibly split votes. That was the case for Morgan who had a fellow Wave FC player up for the award as well.
That teammate, was rookie standout and first pick overall in the 2022 NWSL Collegiate Draft, defender Naomi Girma. The Stanford product had a rookie season not seen since, well, last year when Trinity Rodman hit the scene. For Girma it was a bit different, due to her position. It is rare you see defenders not only dominate at their position the way Girma did, but then parlay that into becoming one of the most important players for the team as a whole. She started all 21 matches she appeared in — she did miss some matches due to representing her country while solidifying her spot with the USWNT — and finished with 104 clearances, 18 blocks, and 24 interceptions. Not only that, but as the season went on Naomi improved her passing and slowly became a bit of a defender/mid hybrid who could not only defend like a brick wall, but was able to connect to the offense with precise passing.
With over a thousand passes, Girma kept an impressive 84% pass success rate and while she didn't get an assist or goal in her first season, it won't be long until she adds those to her game as well, then this league will be in real trouble.
Kailen Sheridan lives for these moments. pic.twitter.com/Z6HIlBEKiC— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) September 19, 2022
Kailen Sheridan may have not been one of the two Wave players up for MVP, but she did indeed leave the 2022 season with something. She was named the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year for 2022. Starting all 20 of her appearances, Sheridan had a 76% save success rate with seven punches, 20 catches, 20 clearances and even had three penalty saves. Sheridan was a massive reason why the team finished with the second-best concession record in the league for 2022, allowing just 21 goals. If the inaugural season is anything to go by, this team is going to be a problem in the NWSL for many years to come, especially if they continue to play at league-best in every category, levels.
With all that said, the time has come for all of you to decide which one of these three incredible, award-winners is your choice for 2022 Wave FC MVP? Is it the goal-scoring machine that has been Alex Morgan? Perhaps the rookie who’s already established herself as one of the best players in this league? Maybe love gets shown to the goalkeeping position for once and its Kailen Sheridan?
2022 San Diego Wave FC MVP
This poll is closed