Bryan Byerley/ISI Photos
The NWSL Challenge Cup is behind us, the regular season starts this weekend, and the Olympics are on the horizon. There’s no doubt that the Portland Thorns are the team to beat, but the Houston Dash have a chip on their shoulder and Gotham FC isn’t a bottom feeder any more.
Now I’m confidently putting some predictions in writing that, come November, will either 1) make me look like a genius or 2) haunt me forever. So here we go!
Championship game: Thorns v Dash
Thorns dominate most of the game but it goes to PKs. Jane “PK Queen” Campbell saves the day. Dash win and get the star they should have already gotten. You heard it here first.
Most Valuable Player: Kristie Mewis
Whether she ends up on the USWNT roster or not (I think she should FWIW), no player feels more integral to their team’s success right now than Mewis. She is in the form of her life and is poised to lead the Dash to another strong season.
Runner Up: Debinha
Golden Boot: Debinha
I think Debinha wins Golden Boot AND does it in a year where she’s gone for the Olympics. There’s just too much fire power in that North Carolina front line.
Runner Up: Rachel Daly (Olympics-depending)
Golden Glove: AD Franch
After missing all of last season due to surgery, Franch showed glimpses of her old self in the Challenge Cup. She needs a strong season to get back into the national team conversation and her team is good enough to help her on that path.
Runner Up: Ashlyn Harris
COTY: Freya Coombe
You’ve slowly seen the pieces coming together, and this season, Gotham FC is finally both a player destination and a contender. If there was a GM-of-the-year award, Alyse LaHue would have already won it for season. As it is, Coombe’s hardware will have to count for both of them.
Runner Up: Mark Parsons
ROTY: Trinity Rodman
I think Rodman gets it over Fox mostly because defenders never get the love they deserve… But Rodman is a spark plug and will be a force for the Spirit IF she is developed correctly. In the words of my esteemed colleague David Copeland-Smith, “give her time.”
Runner Up: Emily Fox
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