Portland Thorns striker Sophia Smith becomes youngest ever regular-season NWSL MVP

Portland Thorns striker Sophia Smith was named the National Women's Soccer League's (NWSL) most valuable player on Thursday, becoming the youngest to earn the regular-season MVP honor days before their championship match against the Kansas City Current.

The 22-year-old scored a club record 14 goals in 18 appearances, the second highest tally this season behind San Diego Wave star Alex Morgan (16), and three assists to help the Thorns to a second consecutive post-season appearance.

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"I truly have no words - this is so special to me and I wouldn't be in this position without all the support and belief I had around me from so many people (you know who you are). Thank you," Smith tweeted.

Smith's fellow United States women's national team forward Morgan finished second in the voting while Brazilian Debinha of North Carolina Courage was third.

Smith, the first overall pick in the 2020 draft, previously helped the Thorns to the 2021 Challenge Cup title.

The Thorns will play Kansas City in the final in Washington, D.C., on Saturday.

The NWSL also announced Thursday that Naomi Girma of the San Diego Wave earned Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year honors. Wave coach Casey Stoney was named Coach of the Year, Kailen Sheridan was named Goalkeeper of the Year.

The winners of this season's awards were determined by votes from fans, owners, general managers, coaches, players and the media.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.