Smith, Coffey, Bella Bixby, Natalia Kuikka named to NWSL Best XI for June
PORTLAND, Ore. – The National Women’s Soccer League today announced the NWSL Best XI of the Month, presented by Mastercard, for the month of June as selected by the NWSL Media Association, headlined by Player of the Month Portland Thorns FC forward Sophia Smith and Rookie of the Month midfielder Sam Coffey along with Best XI picks in goalkeeper Bella Bixby and defender Natalia Kuikka. Portland led the way with four selections after going unbeaten in four games (3-0-1), outscoring its opponents by a margin of 15-2 in the month of June.
Currently second in the 2022 NWSL Golden Boot race, Smith notched five of her eight goals in June, including braces in back-to-back games on June 12 against the Houston Dash and June 19 against Orlando Pride. She is the first player in club history to register consecutive multi-goal games. Smith converted her first two career penalty kicks during the month of June. Leading the league in both shots (40) and shots on goal (20), Smith also tallied a goal in Portland’s 2-2 draw against San Diego Wave FC on June 8. Notably, Smith has recorded a goal or an assist in each of Portland’s last five matches, dating back to May 28.
A rookie midfielder out of Penn State University, Coffey is one of just three players to start each of the club’s first nine games during the 2022 regular season. Coffey recorded her first career assist in the month of June, setting up Christine Sinclair in Portland’s road draw against San Diego. During the month, Coffey finished with an 85 percent passing accuracy rate – the highest of any player in the league.
Bixby started all four matches in June for Thorns FC, notching 10 saves, while posting an 80 percent save percentage along with three clean sheets to help her team to an undefeated month of play. Kuikka played every minute in June, while tallying her first career NWSL goal in the team’s win over the Orlando.
The NWSL Team of the Month is selected each month of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis.