Sophia Smith tallied 26 goals for club and country in 2022. (USA TODAY Sports)
When Sophia Smith is a grizzled 10-year veteran of professional soccer, we just might look back at 2022 as the year she came of age and then some.
Smith’s speed and soccer acumen made many an opposing team to think twice on how to contain her.
The 22-year-old forward scored a plethora of goals for club and country. Smith led the U.S. Women’s National Team in scoring and became the youngest MVP in National Women’s Soccer League history.
Hey, let’s face it, her numbers don’t lie and accomplishments don’t lie:
Smith collected 14 goals in 18 appearances – second in the league – for the NWSL champion Portland Thorns, scoring in the championship match, a 2-0 win over the Kansas City Current on Oct. 30.
Not surprisingly, she earned a pair of MVP honors – in the NWSL regular season and in the championship game.
And not surprisingly, Smith is a finalist for U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Smith struck for a team-best 11 international goals and became the youngest player to lead the side in scoring in a year since a 21-year-old Mia Hamm accomplished the feat with 10 tallies in 1993. It should be noted that was seven years before Smith was born.
She also netted her first career international hat-trick vs. Uzbekistan on April 9, becoming the youngest USWNT player since 2000 and the fifth-youngest performer to net to score three goals in a match for the squad. Smith also had four multi-goal matches.
And she also helped the USA clinch a berth at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand/Australia and a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
For the record, since making her international debut in 2020, Smith has scored 12 goals in 27 games.
Given her impressive production in her short career, the sky could very well be the limit for the multi-talented Smith.
“To come into an environment like this and to be a difference-maker, to score a goal, and I thought she had another incredible assist for another goal that was called back, just shows the potential that she has,” he said after a 2-1 loss at England in October, a game in which Smith found the net. “I think we haven’t seen the best of her.”