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Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji

As the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) heads into the Olympic break, it’s time to take stock of the players currently in contention for individual accolades by season’s end.

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Only 10 regular season games remain after the league’s August 23rd return, despite this season being four games longer than last year’s campaign.

Golden Boot race

The league’s Golden Boot frontrunners are well known, with Orlando’s Barbra Banda and Kansas City Current’s Temwa Chawinga leading the pack.

At the moment, Chawinga has a slight edge on Banda even though both forwards are tied at 12 goals apiece: Chawinga has registered six assists to Banda’s five, giving her the award’s first tiebreaker.

Banda, however, has racked up her goals in just 12 games, while Chawinga’s tally has come over 16 games.

With 10 matches to go, Banda and Chawinga could be on pace to break former Chicago Red Star Sam Kerr’s 18-goal single-season record.



Most Valuable Player (MVP) contenders

While Banda and Chawinga are certainly in contention for this year’s MVP conversation, a few other players also deserve some attention.

Rookie of the Year favorite Coix Bethune leads the league in assists with a staggering nine while sitting tied for seventh in goals scored with five.

United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) stars Trinity Rodman and Sophia Smith should also be considered, as Rodman’s passing and finishing continue to stand out while Smith’s performance has resulted in 10 goals and six assists on the season.

For defenders, Orlando Pride and Gotham FC have the stoutest defenses in the league this year, with both Defender and Goalkeeper of the Year candidates in the mix.

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Orlando defender Emily Sams has proven her versatility, playing outside back after entering the league as a center-back while also being called into her first USWNT camp.

Recently signed Gotham goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger might be behind in games played, but she’s been statistically solid ever since joining the 2023 NWSL champions.

And don’t count out two-time reigning Defender of the Year Naomi Girma, who has been consistently excellent even as San Diego’s season has wavered.

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