Sam Kerr’s extraordinary 2017 season has culminated in her being named NWSL Most Valuable Player. Kerr had her healthiest season ever and used it to lord over opposing defenses to the tune of 17 goals to establish an NWSL record. Kerr, 24, scored all 17 of her goals from the run of play to break Kim Little’s 2014 mark that saw her score 6 of 16 from the penalty spot.
Kerr’s season included two hat tricks making her the first player ever to achieve the feat twice in a season. The first was across 12 minutes and helped Sky Blue FC overturn a 2-0 deficit to beat FC Kansas City 3-2. Six weeks later she did it again and more, adding a 4th in stoppage time to beat the Reign 5-4 after Sky Blue trailed 3-0 at halftime and 4-3 entering stoppage time. The 4 goals is a standalone NWSL record.
In between the hat tricks, Kerr scored an equalizer against the Red Stars in the 90th minute making her for the first player in league history to flip the results of three games in a season with goals in the 90th minute or later.
The key to Kerr’s season was staying healthy. She appeared in 22 of 24 Sky Blue matches sitting out only when she returned to Australia to accept the Julie Dolan Medal (as the most outstanding player in the Australian W-League) and the day after the Tournament of Nations.
Kerr is the fifth consecutive MVP to have also won the league’s golden boot as top scorer. Lynn Williams shared top scoring honors with Kealia Ohai in 2016 but was awarded the boot for having more assists.
NWSL Most Valuable Players
2013: Lauren Cheney/Holiday, FC Kansas City
2014: Kim Little, Seattle Reign FC
2015: Crystal Dunn, Washington Spirit
2016: Lynn Williams, Western New York Flash
2017: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC