NWSL Best XI selections Crystal Dunn and Rachel Daly battle for the ball during the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO – There were many familiar names among National Women’s Soccer League Best XI, which was unveiled by the league Thursday afternoon.

Scoring champion Sam Kerr of the Chicago Red Stars was named to the first team as was North Carolina Courage forward Crystal Dunn, a Rockville Centre, N.Y. native.

Portland Thorns defender Emily Menges of Garden City, N.Y. also was selected to the squad, along with former St. John’s standout and Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly and Sky Blue FC midfielder Carli Lloyd.

NWSL Shield winners Courage and Portland led the way with four selections each to the squad followed by the Chicago Red Stars, Seattle Reign FC and Utah Royals FC with one member each on the team.

The Courage and Thorns FC will play for the NWSL crown at Providence Park in Portland, Ore. Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET (Lifetime).

Five players were voted to the Best XI for the second consecutive year – highlighted by Utah Royals FC defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who earned her sixth successive selection to the squad. Kerr, Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper, Portland goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni were the other players to repeat as selections from the 2017 Best XI.

Three players earned their first selection to the Best XI this year including North Carolina defender Abby Erceg, Portland midfielder Lindsey Horan and defender Emily Sonnett.

Erceg was also one of three players – along with Horan and Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe – that made the leap to the Best XI after making the Second XI last season.

Position Player Club Country Note
Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch Portland Thorns FC USA 1.00 GAA
Defender Emily Sonnett Portland Thorns FC USA 1 goal, 1 assist
Defender Becky Sauerbrunn Utah Royals FC USA 1,720 minutes
Defender Abby Erceg North Carolina Courage NZL 2 goals, 2 assists
Defender Abby Dahlkemper North Carolina Courage USA 1,710 minutes
Midfielder Tobin Heath Portland Thorns FC USA 7 goals, 7 assists
Midfielder Lindsey Horan Portland Thorns FC USA 13 goals, 2 assists
Midfielder McCall Zerboni North Carolina Courage USA 3 goals, 1 assist
Forward Crystal Dunn North Carolina Courage USA 8 goals, 5 assists
Forward Sam Kerr Chicago Red Stars AUS 16 goals, 4 assists
Forward Megan Rapinoe Seattle Reign FC USA 7 goals, 6 assists


The NWSL awards are voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on a consistent basis and fans.

The NWSL Second XI is comprised of the next leading vote getters at each position that did not make the Best XI (listed by position):

Position Player Club Country Note
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams Seattle Reign FC AUS 10 Clean Sheets
Defender Merritt Mathias North Carolina Courage USA 3 goals, 2 assists
Defender Julie Ertz Chicago Red Stars USA 1,126 minutes
Defender Emily Menges Portland Thorns FC USA 1,305 minutes
Defender Steph Catley Seattle Reign FC AUS 3 assists
Midfielder Debinha North Carolina Courage BRA 8 goals, 2 assists
Midfielder Carli Lloyd Sky Blue FC USA 4 goals, 1 assist
Midfielder Christine Sinclair Portland Thorns FC CAN 9 goals, 6 assists
Forward Lynn Williams North Carolina Courage USA 14 goals, 5 assists
Forward Rachel Daly Houston Dash ENG 10 goals, 2 assists
Forward Sofia Huerta Houston Dash USA 5 goals, 4 assists