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Kailen Sheridan named 2022 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Kailen Sheridan’s resume is wide ranging considering her position: penalty-kick denier, goal-opportunity contributor. Now, add the 2022 National Women’s Soccer League Goalkeeper of the Year Award to it.

Sheridan was announced as the winner on Wednesday, beating out Kansas City Current goalkeeper Adrianna Franch and OL Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce, who finished second and third, respectively.

San Diego Wave FC enjoyed the best expansion season in NWSL history, becoming the first to qualify for the playoffs in year one. The Wave defeated the Chicago Red Stars in the first round before losing to the Portland Thorns in the semifinals. Sheridan was a big part of the team’s year-one success.

Sheridan went 8-5-5 in 18 regular-season matches, posting a 0.95 goals against average. It was the second straight season in which Sheridan, who was traded to San Diego by NJ/NY Gotham FC last offseason, kept a GAA under 1.00. She stopped three of the six penalty kicks she faced in the 2022 regular season.

Then, there was the offensive side. Sheridan’s long distribution was an important part of the Wave’s direct play. The goalkeeper often looked for 6-foot-1 midfielder Taylor Kornieck, or forward Alex Morgan. On June 12, Sheridan became the third goalkeeper in league history to tally an assist when her long ball set up Alex Morgan’s goal against OL Reign.

The Wave’s desire to play through Sheridan’s feet nearly cost them in the first round of the playoffs, when a mistake by Sheridan turned over the ball to Chicago forward Yuki Nagasato, who chipped it into an open net to give the Red Stars the lead. San Diego rallied to win in extra time. More often than not, though, it was a benefit.

Final-round voting breakdown for the award went as follows: players (50%), owners/GMs/coaches (20%), media (20%) and fans (10%). The NWSL did not share how each group voted.

Franch made the most saves (77) among the three finalists for the award. Tullis-Joyce’s 66 were four better than Sheridan’s mark. Racing Louisville goalkeeper Katie Lund set a single-season saves record with 112, although she conceded 35 goals behind a back line that struggled.

Full list of NWSL Goalkeepers of the Year

2013: Nicole Barnhart, FC Kansas City 
2014: Alyssa Naeher, Boston Breakers 
2015: Michelle Betos, Portland Thorns FC 
2016: Ashlyn Harris, Orlando Pride 
2017: Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns FC 
2018: Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns FC 
2019: Aubrey Bledsoe, Washington Spirit
2020: No regular season
2021: Aubrey Bledsoe, Washington Spirit 
2022: Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave FC


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