ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 24, 2023) — The National Women’s Soccer League announced the finalists for each the 2023 NWSL Awards, including Rookie of the Year presented by Ally, with Orlando Pride forward Messiah Bright being named one of three finalists for the accolade. The final round of voting is now open, with fans now eligible to vote for Bright for Rookie of the Year, as well as the complete Pride roster for the 2023 Best XI presented by Mastercard.
Fans can vote for Bright and the remaining 2023 awards at the link here, with the ballot closing on Friday, Oct. 27 at 12 p.m. ET.
Bright scored seven goals across all competitions this season, which led all NWSL rookies. She also led the rookies in the league with expected goals (6.2) and successful take-ons (29). In August, she became the first player in NWSL history to win both NWSL Player and Rookie of the Month in the same monthly cycle.
The TCU product was just the fourth rookie ever to win Player of the Month. In August, she scored three goals across four matches, including her first career brace in a 5-0 rout of the North Carolina Courage.
In addition to Bright, the Pride roster featured a number of record-breaking and league-leading performances this season, with the following players, among others, eligible for 2023 Best XI honors:
- Had 10 total goal contributions this season, scoring six goals and providing four assists.
- Played a role in five-straight goals for the Pride from Aug. 20-Oct.2 with three goals and two assists.
- Led all the NWSL in chances created (46), carries into the penalty area (65) and key passes (46).
- Finished the season just three minutes shy of Iron Woman status, playing the most minutes amongst all NWSL rookies.
- Led all rookies in total blocks (18) and total clearances (73)
- Became the first player to reach 100 appearances in Orlando Pride history.
- Ended the year with four goals and four assists. Went a perfect four-for-four from the penalty spot.
- Recorded her eighth all-time game-winning goal, becoming the Pride’s all-time leader in the category.
- Set the Pride’s single-season shutout record, recording seven clean sheets.
- Set a new Club record for saves in a single season, making 72 saves during the 2023 campaign.
- Led the league in total tackles (80), tackles in the defensive third (50) and tackles plus interceptions (114).
- Ranked second in the NWSL in dribbles past opponents (31).
- Was named to the May & August Best XI teams.
The final round of voting uses a weighted scale of players (40%), owners/GMs/coaches (25%), media (25%) and fans (10%).
Award winners will be announced in the days surrounding the 2023 NWSL Championship match, which is set to kick off Saturday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California. The contest will air live on CBS Television Network and stream on Paramount+ and internationally on Watch.NWSLSoccer.com