Portland Thorns FC announce 2013 Club Awards

Five Thorns FC players honored with end-of-season awards following the team’s NWSL championship

PORTLAND, Ore. – Following the conclusion of the inaugural National Women’s Soccer League championship game on Aug. 31, five Portland Thorns FC players were named team award-winners for the 2013 NWSL season, it was announced today.

Highlighting the team’s championship-winning season, which saw league-record crowds at JELD-WEN Field throughout the year, Thorns FC forwards Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan, defender Rachel Buehler, midfielder Becky Edwards and midfielder Meleana Shim all were named recipients of team awards.

Additionally, Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath earned the Most Valuable Player award in a 2-0 win over the Western New York Flash in the NWSL championship game on Aug. 31. Heath tallied the go-ahead goal on a 30-yard free kick in the 40th minute for Thorns FC.

All voting for team awards was completed prior to the start of the NWSL postseason.

Most Valuable Player – Christine Sinclair
Voted by media, Thorns FC players and staff, team captain Christine Sinclair was selected as the club’s Most Valuable Player for the 2013 season. A former standout forward at the University of Portland, Sinclair finished the inaugural NWSL season with eight goals and two assists. The Canadian international netted four goals over the final six games of the regular season as Thorns FC earned the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The league’s Player of the Month for April, Sinclair tallied a streak of three straight games with a point (2g, 1a) in the first three weeks of the season, helping Portland kick off the year on a five-game unbeaten streak.

The Burnaby, British Columbia, native became the first Thorns FC player to record two goals in a game on July 28 in a 3-3 draw against the Chicago Red Stars. Sinclair added a second multi-goal game in the regular-season finale, a 2-1 win over Seattle Reign FC to finish tied for the team-high with eight goals – including two game-winning goals against Seattle and a game-tying penalty kick against FC Kansas City during the year.

Supporters’ Player of the Year; Golden Boot – Alex Morgan
Voted by an online poll prior to the start of the postseason, forward Alex Morgan was named the Supporters’ Player of the Year and earned the Golden Boot with eight goals and five assists. The U.S. Women’s National Team standout’s 21 points was a team high during the year and ranked among league leaders in the NWSL. Despite missing four games this season due to national team duty and a knee injury, Morgan still finished as the league leader in shots (82) and shots on goal (44).

A dynamic attacking presence on the Thorns FC front line, Morgan registered two streaks of four consecutive matches with at least a point. Morgan tallied three goals and one assist over a four-game span from April 21 until May 12 and three goals and two assists over four games from July 21 until Aug. 4.

Defender of the Year – Rachel Buehler
Voted by media, Thorns FC players and staff, defender Rachel Buehler was selected as the club’s Defender of the Year. Buehler, who has earned more than 100 international caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team, appeared in 20 of the team’s 22 regular-season matches at center back, taking part in six of the team’s seven clean sheets in the 2013 regular season.

Missing two games due to national team duty, Buehler logged 1,800 minutes played and two assists for Thorns FC. Starting all of her 20 appearances, the Del Mar, Calif., native registered her first career NWSL assist on Morgan’s game-tying goal in a 2-1 win over Boston on July 21. Buehler tallied an assist in a 3-2 loss against FC Kansas City on Aug. 4 at JELD-WEN Field in Portland’s regular-season home finale.

Community Player of the Year – Becky Edwards
Midfielder Becky Edwards was instrumental in the Thorns FC community outreach events during the 2013 season. After playing a major role for Thorns FC during the first 10 matches of the season, serving as captain during a match against the Chicago Red Stars on June 1, Edwards sustained a torn ACL on June 13, ending her season. Off the field, Edwards continued to contribute to the team and the Portland community. The Downingtown, Pa., native was part of numerous community events, including helping clean and repair books at the Children’s Book Bank, sorting food with Senator Ron Wyden at the Oregon Food Bank and pitching in at multiple events during the Portland Timbers’ Stand Together Week with the Red Cross and the Oregon Food Bank.

Newcomer of the Year – Meleana Shim
Rookie midfielder Meleana Shim assembled a successful first professional season, recording five goals and two assists in 19 regular-season appearances in 2013. A standout at Santa Clara University, Shim’s 12 points ranked third on the team behind Morgan (21) and Sinclair (18), while recording the team’s record-long streak of scoring a goal in four consecutive matches. Playing as an attacking midfielder, Shim tallied goals in four straight matches from July 14-31, including the game-tying goal in a 1-1 draw against Western New York at JELD-WEN Field (July 14) followed by the game-winning goal at Boston on July 21. Shim’s tally against Boston set the mark for the latest game-winning goal (86th minute) for Thorns FC during the regular season. After being an unused substitute in the first three matches of the season, Shim made her first career professional start on May 4 against the Washington Spirit and proceeded to start 17 of the team’s 19 remaining games during the regular season.

Portland Thorns FC 2013 Club Awards
Most Valuable Player – Christine Sinclair
Supporters’ Player of the Year – Alex Morgan
Golden Boot – Alex Morgan
Defender of the Year – Rachel Buehler
Community Player of the Year – Becky Edwards
Newcomer of the Year – Meleana Shim