soccer

3 NWSL breakout stars we can’t wait to watch 


Published: 04/29/22
1853 NWSL breakout stars we can’t wait to watch

1. Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns, Forward

Smith plays for one of the top teams in the NWSL, and has been absolutely dominant for the UWSNT. At the beginning of the month, she snagged her first professional hat-trick, cementing herself as a next-gen talent.

Heading into her third year in the league after being selected No. 1 in the 2020 NWSL College Draft, we’re expecting BIG things from Sophia. Smith will have a successful season if… she can continue her meteoric riseShe recorded her first full season with the Thorns in 2021, leading the club in scoring (7 goals) en route to a Challenge Cup title, the Women’s International Champions Cup and the NWSL Shield!

2. Jimena López, OL Reign, Defender

Lopez wasted no time in her first start on the wing, making key tackles for the Reign. She fortifies one of the toughest backlines in the league, joining Sofia Huerta and Alana Cook, along with Lu Barnes and Sam Hiatt.

Lopez will have a successful season if… the Reign capitalize on her versatility

The same month López was drafted, she signed with Eibar in the Spanish Primera División. In Spain, she saw time in 16 matches, scoring one goal, proving her value across the field. She’s played minutes at multiple positions, including left wing, left back and midfield.

3. Kerolin Nicoli, North Carolina Courage, Forward

Kerolin played two seasons with Madrid Club de Fútbol Femenin of the Spanish Primera División, notching five goals in 24 appearances prior to signing with the Courage at the beginning of 2022.

She made an immediate impact in her first game against NY/NJ Gotham FC on April 3, showing off her creativity, comfort and ability to draw in defenders and create space.

Nicoli will have a successful season if… she finds her rhythm with fellow Brazilian teammate and star, Debinha

We’ve gotten a taste of this since in the Challenge Cup, but we’re excited to watch the regular season!


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