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Diana Ordóñez makes case for NWSL Rookie of the Year

(Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Diana Ordóñez is enjoying a breakout NWSL season, injecting life into the North Carolina Courage’s attack.

The 20-year-old was drafted sixth overall by the Courage in the 2022 draft. She decided to make the jump to the professional ranks after a prolific three years at the University of Virginia.

Ordóñez’s hot streak in the NWSL comes as no surprise to those who followed her tenure as a Cavalier. At Virginia, she tied for the third-most goals in program history.

With a seamless transition to the NWSL, Ordóñez quickly made her impact on the Courage’s front line. She scored her first professional goal to help North Carolina to the Challenge Cup title in early May.

“I am so proud of her,” teammate Carson Pickett said of Ordóñez following the team’s Challenge Cup semifinal victory. “She works so hard day in, day out, and coming in as a rookie, it’s hard enough, and coming into a big semifinal game, I am just so proud of her.”

Ordóñez has continued to shine during the regular season, leading all Courage scorers with seven goals through nine matches played. The rookie striker has scored in the Courage’s last three games, including impressive back-to-back braces.

Her goals haul, which includes one left-footed goal, three right-footed shots and three headers, puts Ordóñez in the NWSL Golden Boot race with USWNT stars Sophia Smith (11), Alex Morgan (11) and Mallory Pugh (6).

Ordóñez’s seven goals tie the league’s all-time rookie goal record, placing her in contention for Rookie of the Year honors.