Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 -- The National Women's Soccer League just ended its seventh season and while the league is still relatively new the very small group of Arizona players competing in the league have made their presence felt thus far.
The 2018 season ended with an explanation point for the Arizona natives as Phoenix's Jessica McDonald (Sereno Soccer Club/Phoenix College) was named NWSL Championship Game MVP after scoring two goals in victory over the Portland Thorns. McDonald ended the season as the league leader in assists while climbing to the third spot on the NWSL All-Time Leading Goalscorers.
McDonald's incredible performance in the 2018 NWSL's playoffs caps what has been an incredible run for the Arizona natives since the league was formed in 2013. Julie Ertz (Arizona Arsenal/Sereno Soccer Club) was named NWSL Rookie of the Year in 2014 and Ashley Hatch (MSC United/Arizona Arsenal) was named NWSL Rookie of the Year in 2017. Sydney Leroux (Sereno Soccer Club) was named to the 2013 NWSL Best XI, Ertz was named to the 2015 NWSL Best XI, and McDonald was named to the 2016 NWSL Best XI.
The Arizona natives are 30 years old or younger which still gives them plenty of time to bring home some more awards. Below is a recap on how they performed this year.
Jessica McDonald, F, North Carolina Courage: Scored two goals in NWSL Championship match victory over Portland. Named NWSL Championship Game MVP.
2018 Season: 25 matches, 10 goals, 8 assists (LEAGUE LEADER)
Sydney Leroux, F, Orlando Pride: Orlando finished 7th in the league standings.
2018 Season: 20 matches, 6 goals, 2 assists
Julie Ertz, M/D, Chicago Red Stars: Named to NWSL Best XI Second Team. Chicago suffered a loss to North Carolina in the NWSL Playoff Semifinals.
2018 Season: 15 matches
Ashley Hatch, F, Washington Spirit: Washington finished 8th in the league standings.
2018 Season: 22 matches, 4 goals, 1 assist
Cali Farquharson, F, Washington Spirit: Washington finished 8th in the league standings.
2018 Season: 5 matches