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Sophia Smith Named 2022 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year

Erin WalshJanuary 6, 2023

HARRISON, NJ - NOVEMBER 13: Sophia Smith #11 of the United States celebrates her goal during a game between Germany and USWNT at Red Bull Arena on November 13, 2022 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Portland Thorns and United States women's national team star Sophia Smith has been named the 2022 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, the USWNT announced Friday.

The 22-year-old is the first Black player to win the award and the youngest to win it since a 22-year-old Mia Hamm claimed the honor in 1994. She received 50.8 percent of the votes, according to ESPN's Jeff Carlisle.

Alex Morgan finished second, having received 18.4 percent of the votes.

U.S. Women's National Soccer Team @USWNT

πŸ‘‘ SIMPLY STANDOUT πŸ‘‘<a href="https://twitter.com/sophsssmith?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@sophsssmith</a> is your 2022 <a href="https://twitter.com/BioSteelSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BioSteelSports</a> Female Player of the Year! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβš½οΈ<br><br>≫ <a href="https://t.co/TzROjj10ye">https://t.co/TzROjj10ye</a> <a href="https://t.co/vE31cHgJ1a">pic.twitter.com/vE31cHgJ1a</a>

Smith said in a statement:

"Obviously this is surreal, and I'm super humbled. It's been a very exciting year, and certainly there's been some challenges, but just being able to grow and develop in the environments with the National Team and the Thorns, and being surround by such amazing players, players that I have looked up to for so long, has pushed me to become a better player and person."

Smith put together an unbelievable 2022 season for both club and country, scoring 14 regular-season goals for the Thorns and a team-high 11 non-penalty goals for the USWNT. She is the fourth player to score at least 10 goals for both the national team and her NWSL club in a single season, joining Abby Wambach (2013), Sydney Leroux (2013) and Christen Press (2015).

Additionally, Smith helped lead the Thorns to the NWSL title with a goal in the championship game against the Kansas City Current and won the NWSL Finals MVP award. She also was named the league's MVP.

USWNT manager Vlatko Andonovski said of Smith:

"This was a big year for Sophia, and she deserves this recognition, but I'm just excited about where she can take her game from here. She is a special player with special qualities, but the best thing is that has the humbleness, work ethic and drive to keep developing all aspects of her game.
"As coaches, she's a joy to work with because she's always looking for that edge to become better and more productive. As a person, she's a wonderful part of our team, a fantastic teammate and we're looking forward to her having another great year in 2023."

Smith is expected to reach new heights in 2023 and will undoubtedly be a leader in the United States' attack at the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The U.S. women are aiming to win their third consecutive World Cup title and fifth overall when they take the field this summer.

The Americans open the group stage at the World Cup with a match against Vietnam on July 21. Before that, though, they have two friendlies scheduled against New Zealand later this month, and the SheBelieves Cup will begin on Feb. 16.