|The National Women’s Soccer League announced today the recipients of the 2021 Best XI first team and Best XI second team awards.
Three members of NJ/NY Gotham FC were named to the first team – goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, defender Caprice Dydasco and forward Margaret Purce.
Gotham midfielder-forward Ifeoma Onumonu was chosen on the second team.
The Best XI First Team and Best XI Second Team are based on a weighted voting scale comprised of players (50%), owners/GMs/coaches (20%), media (20%) and fans (10%).
2021 NWSL Best XI First Team
Goalkeeper: Kailen Sheridan (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
Defenders: Caprice Dydasco (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Alana Cook (OL Reign), Sarah Gorden (Chicago Red Stars), Carson Pickett (North Carolina Courage)
Midfielders and Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Jessica Fishlock (OL Reign), Eugenie Le Sommer (OL Reign), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Angela Salem (Portland Thorns FC)
2021 NWSL Best XI Second Team
Goalkeeper: Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns FC)
Defenders: Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Menges (Portland Thorns FC)
Midfielders and Forwards: Bethany Balcer (OL Reign), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Ifeoma Onumonu (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Sydney Leroux (Orlando Pride), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars)
Each athlete will receive a cash bonus for their achievements this season as part of Mastercard’s celebration of the Best XI and Best XI Second Team.
“Congratulations to all of the winners represented on this year’s Best XI teams. The skill, determination and resilience on the field of play this season was absolutely inspiring to watch,” said interim CEO Marla Messing. “I’d also like to thank Mastercard for investing in NWSL players, and for helping to lead the way as we continue to build a league as exceptional as the players on the pitch.”
About the 2021 Best XI First Team
Kailen Sheridan: Featuring in over 1,500 minutes of play this season, Sheridan was rock solid for Gotham FC. The goaltender stopped 63 of the 78 shots she faced to garner a league best 83.9 percent save clip and registered six clean sheets in 17 matches.
Caprice Dydasco: A five-time NWSL Team of the Month selection and the 2021 NWSL Defender of the Year, Dydasco scored her first career goal, tied for second in assists among the league with a career-high five assists and made 49 clearances and 49 interceptions on the year.
Alana Cook: A Cook appeared and started in 20 matches for the Reign. The defender registered a dependable 84.3 percent passing rate, made 92 clearances and blocked 23 shots in her team’s defensive end.
Carson Pickett: A lockdown defender on the North Carolina backline, Pickett played in all 24 regular-season matches and made an impact on both sides of the field, tying for second in league with a career-best five assists.
Sarah Gorden: Gorden is one of two players in the league to appear in every single minute of play during the NWSL regular season. In over 2,000 minutes of play, the defender made 85 clearances and registered an 87.5 percent successful passing rate.
Ashley Hatch: This season’s NWSL Golden Boot winner, Hatch led the league scoring effort with 10 goals in 22 matches. Hatch’s impressive scoring tear also included a pair of braces that helped lead the Spirit to an 11-6-6 regular-season record.
Jessica Fishlock: The 2021 NWSL Most Valuable Player, Fishlock was instrumental in OL Reign’s dominant season. The midfielder tallied five goals, including one game winner, and four assists, while registering a stout passing accuracy of 76.4 percent and providing 47 key passes across 23 games.
Eugénie Le Sommer: Scoring three braces this season, Le Sommer ranked third in goal scoring among the NWSL and led the scoring effort for the Reign. In addition to her eight highlight-reel goals, the forward also provided three assists to her teammates.
Margaret Purce: Finishing tied for second in the Golden Boot race this season, Purce tallied nine goals, including her fifth career brace in the NWSL, and added an assist to lead Gotham FC in scoring.
Trinity Rodman: In her rookie season, Rodman made an instant impact on the Washington Spirit, leading all NWSL newcomers in scoring with seven goals and six assists. Additionally, the Newport Beach, California native’s 29 shots on goal ranked in the top five in the league.
Angela Salem: A defensive stalwart, Salem tallied two goals and an assist, garnered a 79.1 percent passing accuracy and made 47 key passes as she expertly patrolled the Portland midfield, earning her three Team of the Month nods.