CHICAGO – The National Women’s Soccer League announced Tuesday OL Reign midfielder Jessica Fishlock was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
A mainstay in the Reign’s midfield since the NWSL’s inception in 2013, the MVP award marks Fishlock’s first individual NWSL award.
“If you speak to most people around the league and ask the coaches if they could take one player from our team, it would always be [Jess],” OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey said in a statement. “I think that’s just a compliment of what she’s always brought to this team. The journey that she’s been on to get to this point has been phenomenal. I’m glad that she’s getting some recognition that she deserves.”
A veteran versatile midfielder, Fishlock was integral in her team’s success during the regular season, appearing in more than 1,800 minutes. In 21 starts, the Welsh star tallied five goals, including one game-winner, and four assists. She also registered an impressive passing accuracy of 76.4 percent and providing 47 key passes in 23 games.
Beginning her scoring efforts with a goal in OL Reign’s June 16 match against the North Carolina Courage, Fishlock’s offensive output this season was highlighted by a three-game scoring tear from July 24 to Aug. 8. The midfielder kicked off the streak with a game-winning goal in OL Reign’s 2-0 win over the Orlando Pride. The midfielder followed up the next week with an assist in the team’s 2-0 victory over Racing Louisville FC, before enjoying her most productive performance of the season with a goal and two assists in the Reign’s 5-1 rout of the Houston Dash.
Fishlock also provided the key pass on the opening goal of a 2-1 win over Cascadia rival Portland Thorns FC on Aug. 29 and tallied a brace to fuel the Reign’s 3-2 win over the Chicago Red Stars on October 10.
She also proved to be an essential component in the Reign’s defense as well, winning 63 percent of tackles and providing 13 clearances and 21 interceptions. Fishlock put her defensive skills on full display on Oct. 16 when she provided heroics against the Washington Spirit with a goal line clearance. The save went on to earn her Save of the Week honors.
In addition to the league’s top accolade, Fishlock will receive a cash bonus from Budweiser to celebrate her efforts on the pitch this season.
Chicago forward Mallory Pugh finished second in MVP voting, while NJ/NY Gotham FC forward Margaret Purce was third, Washington striker Ashley Hatch was fourth and Portland Thorns FC midfielder Angela Salem was fifth.
The list of five finalists was decided after a preliminary round of voting by owners, general managers, coaches, players and media. The finalists were then voted on by fans, owners, general managers, coaches, players and media.
Preliminary Round: Owners/GMs/Coaches (25%), Media (25%) and Players (50%)
Final Round: Players (50%), Owners/GMs/Coaches (20%), Media (20%) and Fans (10%),
Full list of NWSL MVPs
2013: Lauren Holiday, FC Kansas City
2014: Kim Little, Seattle Reign FC
2015: Crystal Dunn, Washington Spirit
2016: Lynn Williams, Western New York Flash
2017: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC
2018: Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC
2019: Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars
2021: Jessica Fishlock, OL Reign