NWSL Golden Boot race heats up: Who will come out on top?

The golden boot race is tighter than ever this year as the NWSL season goes on. We take a look at who’s tied for first and how they could pull ahead. 

As usual, it’s a tight race for the top of the table regarding the Golden Boot winner for this season in the NWSL. After week nine there are currently four players tied for first place with five goals, and three players tied for second place with four goals. It’s possible that any one of them could pull ahead and win it all, and take home the highest scorer of the season like Alex Morgan did when she won in 2022 with sixteen goals. Before we dive into who has the best shot at the golden boot, it’s important to note that these goals are during regular season play, and goals scored during the UKG Challenge Cup don’t count in the golden boot race.

Alex Morgan, San Diego Wave, 5 Goals

Alex Morgan wants a repeat after clinching the golden boot last year, scoring dimes for the Wave and converting on two penalties so far. With veteran experience and excellent service from the capable Wave midfield, it’s entirely possible that Alex will find herself adding to her accolades. Alex adds onto her total with her ability convert penalties to points with ease. One of the coolest players from the spot, Alex has already sunk two penalties this year, almost halfway to the five she earned last year. The Wave’s excellent long balls also service Morgan’s style of play so well, as she brings down those chances and finishes them with minimal touches.

Ashley Hatch, Washington Spirit, 5 Goals

Another player well known for success in the penalty spot, Hatch has already taken and converted three for the Spirit, in addition to her two regular time goals. The 2021 Golden Boot winner is looking to get the Spirit back to a championship, scoring on great chances provided from playmakers like Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman. Hatch was in the running last year but couldn’t break ten goals after a disappointing season with the Spirit. But they’re looking to turn things around this year, especially after going unbeaten for seven games. Hatch finds great space in behind backlines and has great final touches which could earn her the Golden Boot.

Crystal Dunn, Portland Thorns, 5 Goals

Even though she’s the only midfielder tied for first place, it’s no surprise to see Crystal Dunn in the running for this award. Dunn has been everywhere for the Thorns this season after returning to play from pregnancy. She’s already had a brace this season, and is always able to find space to rip a shot from any angle. Her ability to read the field of play and control the ball in tight spaces sets her apart from the other players on this list, and grants her a good shot at the award. Dunn is an impressive talent with a lot of league experience, and that might just push her into first place in the coming weeks.

Lynn Williams, NJ/NY Gotham FC, 5 Goals

Back and better than ever, Lynn Williams is throwing her hat in the ring for the golden boot after being out almost the entirety of last season after a hamstring injury. Williams, like Morgan, is no stranger to the award, having won it back in 2016 when she was with the Western New York Flash. She’s been incredibly consistent for Gotham, spreading out her goals across five different matches and creating chances wherever she goes. She might just be Gotham’s best acquisition in the offseason, with her five goals already being more than any player scored for them the entirety of last season. Williams’ tenacity and determination puts her in strong contention for the award. She’s always going after the ball, always giving everything to get there, always taking the shot the second she sees an opportunity, and going above and beyond to get those points for her team.

Sophia Smith, Kerolin, Debinha: 4 Goals

It would be amiss to write this and not mention those in second place, who are just as talented as those tied for first. Sophia Smith in particular came in second last year, just behind Morgan, and has been on fire for the Thorns, earning her first career hat trick this season. Debinha was also within grabbing distance of the award last year, coming in at twelve goals and third place behind Smith. Kerolin is equally worthy, making magic for the Courage with each touch and dribbling past defenders as if they don’t exist. It wouldn’t be surprising to see any one of these talented players in second place take over the lead spot.

There are even more players tied for third with three goals including the young talents of Trinity Rodman, Alyssa Thompson, and Jaedyn Shaw. In this league where anything is possible, it’s too early to count anyone out for the golden boot, especially with the World Cup on the horizon. With players leaving to head off to play for their country, those who stay behind might be able to make up their goal differences and change the race by the time the national team players return.

Final NWSL Golden Boot winner prediction: Lynn Williams

The competition is steep this year, but it feels like the absolute audacity of Lynn Williams will win out this season. She’s gotten better with every match, earning the NWSL accolade of Player of the Week twice already. She has been consistent in her scoring, putting herself into excellent space and getting incredible balls in from her teammates. Not to mention she’s incredibly dangerous on her own in transition, able to outrun most defenders in the league, even when she’s doing it with one arm. It’s the comeback season of Lynn Williams, and what better way to end that than with the golden boot?

Check out our NWSL hub page for more news, analysis, opinion and unique women’s soccer coverage. And don’t forget to follow FOR(E) on Twitter, FanSided’s home for women’s sports.


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