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Gotham FC’s Ali Krieger, Lynn Williams, and Jenna Nighswonger Earn Best XI Awards, Presented by Mastercard

By Gotham FC Communications, 11/06/23, 2:45PM EST


HARRISON, NJ (November 6, 2023) - The National Women’s Soccer League today announced the recipients of the 2023 Best XI First Team and Best XI Second Team awards, presented by Mastercard. The recognition honors the top 22 players in the league. Among the first team honorees are NJ/NY Gotham FC captain and defender Ali Krieger and forward Lynn Williams, while rookie defender Jenna Nighswonger was named to the second team.   

In her final professional soccer season before she retires, Krieger has been in prime form. Under her leadership, Gotham FC’s defense accounted for the fewest shots in the entire league this regular season (157) and set a club record. The club allowed only 24 goals in the regular season, which is the second fewest in Gotham FC history and ties for fourth best among all 12 teams in the NWSL. In addition, the captain won 65.6% of her duels throughout the 2023 regular season, which is best among Gotham FC field players. This is her fourth time on the Best XI list.  

Williams returned to her incredible form in her first season at Gotham FC. In 2023, she led Gotham FC with seven goals and three assists. The NWSL veteran leads the league in shots with 62 and is second in the league in shots on goal with 36 in the regular season. She also notched four game-winners, tied for second most in the league, including the game-winning goal in Gotham FC’s regular season opener.  In the NWSL Playoffs semifinals against the North Carolina Courage, Williams notched her third career playoff assist to tie the league record.  

Nighswonger continues her sensational rookie season by adding Best XI Second Team to her impressive list of accolades for the 2023 season. She is the only rookie to be named to the list of 22 players for this award. In the regular season, the defender accounted for seven goal contributions across all competitions, which ties for most among league rookies this year. Additionally, Nighswonger notched 35 tackles, which is the most on Gotham FC, most among rookies, and third among defenders across the league. 

The Best XI First Team and Best XI Second Team are based on weighted voting scale comprised of players (40%), owners/GMs/coaches (25%), media (25%) and fans (10%).    

Each athlete will receive a cash bonus for their achievements this season as part of Mastercard’s celebration of the Best XI and Best XI Second Team. 

Best XI First Team, Presented by Mastercard 
GK: Jane Campbell (HOU) 
DF: Naomi Girma (SD) 
DF: Ali Krieger (NJNY) 
DF: Sarah Gorden (LA) 
DF: Sam Staab (WAS) 
MF: Sam Coffey (POR) 
MF: Debinha (KCC) 
MF/F: Jaedyn Shaw (SD) 
F: Kerolin (NCC) 
F: Sophia Smith (POR) 
F: Lynn Williams (NJNY) 

Best XI Second Team, Presented by Mastercard 
GK: Kailen Sheridan (SD) 
DF: Emily Fox (NCC) 
DF: Kaleigh Kurtz (NCC) 
DF: Jenna Nighswonger (NJNY) 
DF: M.A. Vignola (LA) 
MF: Savannah DeMelo (LOU) 
MF: Savannah McCaskill (LA) 
MF: Denise O’Sullivan (NCC) 
F: Ashley Hatch (WAS) 
F: Alex Morgan (SD) 
F: Trinity Rodman (WAS)