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Kerolin becomes first Latin American player to win NWSL MVP

(Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

Kerolin is the 2023 NWSL MVP.

The league announced the 23-year-old Brazilian forward as the Most Valuable Player, making her the first Latin American player and the first North Carolina Courage player to win the award. Eight previous Courage players had been nominated, but none of them took home the hardware.

Kerolin scored 10 goals on the season, finishing as runner-up to Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith (11 goals) in the Golden Boot race. She’s just the third Brazilian and the fourth Courage player to finish with a double-digit goal total in an NWSL regular season. With three assists, she also finished second in the league in points.

Her expected goals ranked third in the NWSL, while she ranked sixth in total shots and fourth in shots on target per 90. She finished first in the league in shot-creating actions with 91 and successful take-ons with 67. She ranked in the top 10 in the league in 28  statistical categories.

A member of the NWSL 2023 Best XI first team, she also led North Carolina to its second straight NWSL Challenge Cup title, scoring the team’s winning goal. It was the Courage’s seventh league trophy, the most in NWSL history.

Kerolin beat out four other nominees for the MVP award: Smith and Sam Coffey of the Portland Thorns, Debinha of the Kansas City Current and Naomi Girma of the San Diego Wave.

From Gotham FC, Juan Carlos Amorós was named Coach of the Year and Jenna Nighswonger won Rookie of the Year. Girma was named Defender of the Year, while Jane Campbell of the Houston Dash was named Goalkeeper of the Year.