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USL W League announces 2023 Team of the Year

By Staff, 08/02/23, 2:00PM EDT


22 players across 13 teams selected to First and Second Teams

The USL W League today announced the 2023 Team of the Year, honoring the standout performers from the past campaign. Thirteen clubs and all 10 divisions are represented among the 22 honorees. 2023 USL W League Champions Indy Eleven have four honorees among the First and Second team, while fellow Finalists NC Courage U23 have three. Other clubs with more than one honoree are Eagle FC, Minnesota Aurora FC, Tampa Bay United and SF Glens SC. 

The 2023 USL W League Champions Indy Eleven have four honorees among the First and Second team, and Runners Up NC Courage U23 have three. Other club's with more than one honoree are Eagle FC, Minnesota Aurora FC, Tampa Bay United and SF Glens SC. 

The USL W League Team of the Year was selected based on individual player performances throughout both the regular season and postseason


GK - Bailey Herfurth, Tampa Bay United: TBU’s Bailey Herfurth earned the 2023 Golden Glove with an impressive .096 goals against average. Herfurth only allowed a single goal in her 936 minutes of play during the regular season. The LSU Tiger helped lead TBU to 11 clean sheets during the regular season, as well as the top spot in the Southeast Division, earning the club a playoff berth. 

D - Laurel Ansbrow, NC Courage U23: The Wake Forest Deacon anchored a strong NC Courage backline that went all the way to the 2023 W League Final. The Courage secured the top of the South Atlantic Division, with Ansbrow’s impressive defensive skills playing a strong role in that feat. Ansbrow and the Courage finished the regular season 11-0-1 with a plus 39 goal differential.   

D - Tianna Harris, Minnesota Aurora FC: Harris, a former Kent State standout and 2022 Mac Hermann Trophy Watch List honoree, held down the backline while also pushing up in the attack for the Aurora, adding four goals and two assists during the regular season. Harris’ lockdown defense helped led Minnesota to only allowing four regular season goals, the third least in the league.  

D - Elle Piper, SF Glens SC: Piper played a key role for the SF Glens in their nearly undefeated regular season and playoff run. The Duke Blue Devil appeared in eight matches scoring two goals and adding four assists from the backline. Piper and the Glens sat atop the Power Rankings for five consecutive weeks.  

M - Bella Gaetino, Flint City AFC: The UNC Tar Heel commit started every match for Flint City and tallied six goals across all matches for the team. Gaetino’s midfield play was a large factor to the incredible turnaround Flint City had this season, making the playoffs for the first time.  

M - Mia Oliaro, NC Courage U23: The second incoming UNC Tar Heel commit on the list and U.S. youth international, Oliaro led the Courage deep into the playoffs, falling in the 2023 W League Final to Indy Eleven. Oliaro scored five goals and recorded six assists for an extremely deep NC roster.  

M - Nia Christopher, Eagle FC: Eagle FC battled their way to the top of the Mid Atlantic Division and a playoff berth thanks in part to the large role the attacking minded Towson Tiger and Bermuda international player. Christopher netted 11 goals in 14 matches for the Mechanicsburg-based club and added four assists.  

M - Katie Shea Collins, Tennessee SC: The South Carolina Gamecock commit had an incredible season for TSC, scoring 14 goals in 12 matches and tallying seven regular season assists, earning her the honor of 2023 W League Assist Champion. Collin’s heroic’s helped lead the club to new heights, winning eight matches and clinching their first-ever playoff berth.  

F - Sam Dewey, Indy Eleven: Dewey’s nine goals and three assists helped propel Indy Eleven to a nearly perfect season, securing the top spot in the Central Division and ultimately winning the 2023 W League Championship. Dewey found herself on ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10, as her cheeky backheel in the club’s conference title match was notched at number four.  

F - Baylee DeSmit, Christos FC: DeSmit, the 2023 W League Golden Boot winner, had a record-breaking season for Christos FC, scoring 21 regular season goals and added an additional goal in the playoffs. DeSmit, who plays collegiately at Loyola, also tallied six assists and helped Christos reach its first-ever playoff appearance.    

F - Nadia Gomes, SF Glens SC: Gomes, who was drafted by the Orlando Pride in 2018, had an incredible season for expansion side SF Glens, helping lead the team to the W League Semifinals after winning the Western Conference. Gomes netted 17 goals in 15 appearances, including a hattrick in the club’s opening playoff match against Oakland Soul. Gomes also recorded six regular season assists and added another two in the playoffs.  


GK - Nona Reason, Indy Eleven: The UNC Tarheel played a massive role in Indy Eleven’s Championship-winning season, starting ten matches for the Girls in Blue and only allowing three goals against during regular season play. During the playoffs, Reason and her backline held their first two playoff opponents scoreless.  

D - Madison Cox, Tampa Bay United: The former Grand Canyon Lope and Puerto Rican National team defender was a veteran leader for Tampa Bay United’s defensive unit, posting the lowest goals allowed in the league with just one goal conceded during the regular season. Cox also contributed a goal for TBU who finished the regular season undefeated (12-0-0) and secured a berth in the playoffs.  

D - Carly Smith, Eagle FC: Smith, who plays collegiately at High Point University, was a staple for the Eagle backline this season, starting 14 matches and playing 1283 minutes. With Smith’s leadership in the backline, Eagle ended the regular season 11-1-0 and made it through to the W League Semifinals where the team fell to NC Courage U23.  

D - Grace Bahr, Indy Eleven: Bahr played an integral role in Indy Eleven’s Championship-winning season, starting all 13 of Indy’s matches this season. From the backline, the former Xavier defender, added two assists and three goals for the Girls in Blue, all while only allowing three goals against during the regular season.  

M - Hannah Adler, Minnesota Aurora FC: The former University of Denver midfielder and current U.S. Beach National Team member had an incredible season for the Aurora, netting 11 goals and three assists. Adler and Minnesota finished the regular season with a perfect 12-0-0 record, securing the team’s second consecutive playoff berth.  

M - Kennedy Berschel, Chicago City SC: Wearing the captain's armband for Chicago City this season, Berschel has been a steady and commanding presence in the midfield. The Illini midfielder contributed two goals and tallied five assists for Chicago, helping lead her team to an 8-3-1 record in the regular season, along with a wild-card playoff berth.   

M - Alia Martin, Indy Eleven: Martin truly came alive in the playoffs, scoring the game-winning goal in the 91st minute in Indy’s semifinal victory over the Glens and then again scoring the championship-clinching goal in the Final with an incredible overhead kick, earning the former University of Michigan midfielder Final MVP honors.  

M - Lauren Martinho, NC Courage U23: Duke commit Lauren Martinho had an excellent season in the midfield for the 2023 W League Runner Ups NC Courage U23. The team finished the regular season unbeaten (11-0-1) and claimed the top spot in the South Atlantic Division. Martinho recorded four goals and three assists while sharing a midfield with USWNT legend Heather O’Reilly.  

F - Claire Manning, Morris Elite SC: The New Jersey native was second in the Golden Boot race, scoring an impressive 17 goals in 12 games for Morris Elite. Manning, a rising sophomore at Georgetown, led her team to a 10-1-1 regular season record and the club’s second consecutive playoff appearance.  

F - Mariah Lee, Oly Town FC: Former Stanford and Wake Forest standout Mariah Lee shined in Oly Town’s first season in the W League. Lee, who recently played professionally in Spain, scored six goals and recorded three assists in eight games for the expansion side, helping secure the top spot in the Western Conference and a playoff berth.  

F - Giana Riley, Cal Storm: Gonzaga University rising sophomore Giana Riley scored 14 goals in 14 matches and recorded three assists for expansion side Cal Storm this season. The Storm finished the regular season with a 9-2-1 record in one of the toughest divisions in the league. Thanks to Riley’s abundant goalscoring, Cal Storm scored the most goals in the NorCal Division.  

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