Barnes ends Sauerbrunn’s run as top NWSL defender

The Equalizer Staff October 5, 2016 30
Seattle Reign FC's Lauren Barnes won the 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year award. (Photo Copyright Clark Linehan for The Equalizer)

Seattle Reign FC’s Lauren Barnes won the 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year award. (Photo Copyright Clark Linehan for The Equalizer)

Seattle Reign FC’s Lauren Barnes was voted the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League Defender of the Year, the league announced on Wednesday.

Barnes played in all 20 games and played nearly every minute this season for Seattle, which fell short of the playoffs by 2 points after claiming the NWSL Shield in 2014 and 2015. The Reign, anchored by Barnes at center back, gave up 21 goals in 20 matches, tied for third-best in the league in 2016.

This marks the first time in league history that Becky Sauerbrunn did not win the NWSL Defender of the Year award. The FC Kansas City center back and U.S. international claimed the award in each of the first three years of the NWSL’s existence while helping guide FCKC to back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.

Barnes beat out finalists Sauerbrunn, Portland Thorns defender Emily Menges and Chicago Red Stars defenders Julie Johnston and Arin Gilliland to win the award.

“It was an honor to be nominated alongside the best defenders in professional soccer,” Barnes said. “I’m humbled by this award and proud to represent my teammates, coaches, Reign ownership, our great fans and of course my family and friends. I want to thank everyone who took the time to vote and to all who support the NWSL.”

The NWSL will announce its MVP on Thursday. In previously announced awards this week, Portland’s Mark Parsons won Coach of the Year, Sky Blue FC’s Raquel Rodriguez won Rookie of the Year and Orlando Pride’s Ashlyn Harris won Goalkeeper of the Year.

The NWSL awards are voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on a consistent basis and fans.

  • guest

    Wow, the unexpected result for all of these. My pick was Tobin for nwsl mvp, now im thinking it might be woso journalist darling Christen Press.

    • John

      I know right. So much for Portland bias.

    • well

      I suspect Tobin will lose graciously to her girlfriend. The others, not so much.

      • Steglitz49

        you forgot to throw in an “allegedly” into your snide remark

        • another guest

          they aren’t exactly hiding that they are a couple. why is this so troubling to you? homophobic misogynistic troll, why do you spend so much time on a womens soccer board? not the best place for you.

          • anon

            lol… his constant comments about getting dating services/marriage services are so insulting and repetitive troll bait. a good chunk of this team is not straight and happily dating other women. annoying neckbeard.

          • Steglitz49

            Please register yourself so we can follow your comments.

          • Steglitz49

            Kindly register yourself because that way we can follow your comments.

          • yet another guest

            for what it is worth, as is true with most “guest” id’s including the “another guest” id above there appear to be multiple people posting using that id

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you for the explanation.

            The point is that they hide behind flags of convenience that we can’t follow. These bottomfeeders must be weeded out. Them not being registered prevents this.

  • Arcie Tillydee

    Seriously?!? Literally laughing out loud…

  • chive-on

    Seattle’s defense was pretty meh this year, along with the rest of the team so….not seeing it. Should have gone to Menges, she’s made huge improvements.

    • guest

      nobody even knows who Menges is

    • guest

      Seattle’s defense conceded only two more goals than Portland though.

  • Jim

    Winners seem so random. I guess Ohai won MVP. Anyways it shows that coaches, media and players don’t want a Thorn player winning

  • Seany

    It wasn’t Barnesy’s best season, but I can’t help but think that this is one of those “lifetime achievement” + in-season versatility kind of win. Don’t forget that Barnes was shuffled between LB and CB this year, helping her team wherever she could.

  • guest

    Uhh, I can see it already, Ohai as MVP despite her being invisible a huge part of the season. well, whatever

    • Guest1

      Barnes, Harris, Rodriguez.. Random

  • TheBold
    • JL

      Reminds me of 2013, when Brittany Taylor was named to the Best XI (and was probably the last one out of the finalists for NWSL DOTY), yet Estelle Johnson was voted as the Flash’s Defender of the Year.

  • Jen

    No player that accomplished something for a team is winning individual award? Harris team sucked, Rodriguez team sucked, Barnes team sucked. Really????

  • DNG

    Interesting selection. I didn’t think that Seattle’s CBs were all that great this year.

  • guest

    swear to god the league could have an award for 2016 best pitch and the flash would win it

    • Steglitz49

      The Premier League — maybe all English teams are eligible — have an annual competition for best groundsman of the year.

  • Fawcett

    My vote went to Menges. Funny how these awards are given. I thought Barnes deserved it in 2015 (a joke that Sauerbrunn won despite playing in only half the games), not quite as good a season in 2016. The Seattle defense as a whole was less air tight this time around. I still think she deserves a WNT call up.

    Neither Johnston or Gilliland deserved to be a finalist. Should have been Rampone and Short instead. Even Brittany Taylor.

    • MurderOnZidanesFloor

      Agreed on Barnes being much better last year. And Short really should have been on the shortlist, I’d have picked her if she was.

      • Steglitz49

        Maybe getting rehabilitated in a hamlet in western Norway is not good for your US career prospects. It sort of reflects poorly on the US WoSo establishment.

        I wish someone could have a through interview with Casey (and Adrianna) what it was like playing in Norway and for Avaldsnes. Was there a particular physio who was good on sports injuries? Did they learn to speak any Norwegian? Is the local dialect as ugly and inpenetrable as everyone claims?

  • xanthophobe

    A great decision if this was 2015. I love Lu and am happy for her because I think she gets overlooked a lot….but I probably would have given this to Menges.

    • Arcie Tillydee

      And then no call-up for Menges. Is there anyone out there any more that doesn’t think Ellis is utterly clueless about what goes on outside her own roster?

      • xanthophobe

        It BLOWS my mind that Mathias got called up before Menges.