Starting today and running through September 11, fans have the opportunity to have their say in who should win the 2015 NWSL Awards. Seattle Reign players are represented heavily in the six award categories: MVP, Defender of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, and an NWSL Best XI.
The MVP category, which includes just five players, boasts three Reign players: Kim Little, Jess Fishlock, and Beverly Yanez. Crystal Dunn, the 2015 Golden Boot winner, and Christen Press, who tallied 10 goals in just 11 matches, are the remaining candidates.
Laura Harvey is once again up for coach of the year and goes up against FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski and Washington Spirit coach Mark Parsons. The notable absence in this category is Chicago Red Stars coach Rory Dames, who led his team to second on the season and their first-ever playoff appearance, despite missing key players like Christen Press and Julie Johnston in the World Cup.
Lauren Barnes and Kendall Fletcher are both up for Defender of the Year. Here's a preview of what the NWSL survey says about both players:
Lauren Barnes: Was instrumental in creating chances at a moment's notice for Reign FC, as seen in her two assists, both of which were pin-point balls played over the top. As quickly as she sprung Reign FC's attack, Barnes remained a wall on defense, making it difficult for opposing teams to break down Reign FC's back four.
Kendall Fletcher: The prolific centerback made a seamless switch to outside back early into the 2015 campaign, allowing Fletcher to be more involved in both the quick buildup of an attack and the attack itself. As such, the defender had two goals and two assists.
All NWSL players are available for selection in the NWSL Best XI category, which will make the full results of the fan vote pretty interesting. No Reign players are up for Rookie or Goalkeeper of the Year, although Haley Kopmeyer, who had 4 shutouts in 11 matches and averaged just 1 goal against per game, could arguably be on that list.
Fan voting ends September 11, so be sure to get your votes in quickly.
Fans are also encouraged to support their favorite players via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags: #NWSLMVP, #NWSLDOY, #NWSLGOY, #NWSLROY, #NWSLCOY and #NWSLBestXI.
All 2015 NWSL Award winners will be announced in the days leading up to the NWSL Championship game on Thursday, Oct. 1, which kicks off in Portland at 6:30 p.m. PT and airs on FOX Sports 1. Below is the complete awards announcement schedule.
2015 NWSL Awards - Announcement Schedule:
Monday, Sept. 14: Rookie of the Year (#NWSLROY)
Wednesday, Sept. 16: Goalkeeper of the Year (#NWSLGOY)
Friday, Sept. 18: Coach of the Year (#NWSLCOY)
Monday, Sept. 21: Defender of the Year (#NWSLDOY) presented by Coppertone®
Wednesday, Sept. 23: MVP (#NWSLMVP)
Thursday, Sept. 24: Best XI (#NWSLBestXI)