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Midge Purce, Trinity Rodman headline NWSL Best XI team

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Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NWSL 2021 Best XI teams, presented by Mastercard, have officially dropped.

It’s the first time the league has presented a Best XI First and Second teams, recognizing the top 22 players in the league.

As part of Mastercard’s partnership with the NWSL and in celebration of the Best XI and Best XI Second Team, athletes will receive a cash bonus for their achievements this season.

“Congratulations to all of the winners represented on this year’s Best XI teams. The skill, determination and resilience on the field of play this season was absolutely inspiring to watch,” NWSL interim CEO Marla Messing said in a league release. “I’d also like to thank Mastercard for investing in NWSL players, and for helping to lead the way as we continue to build a league as exceptional as the players on the pitch.”

“We’re excited to honor these extraordinary players with this well deserved recognition,” said Alison Giordano, VP, Global Sponsorships, Mastercard.

“Unlocking the potential in every person across all parts of their life — this is what Priceless is all about. Because a world that works better for women creates limitless possibilities for us all.”

During the press conference leading up to the championship game, Mastercard’s junior reporter Kayla Klaus was able to pose questions to her favorite players and coaches from both teams and to Messing.

“We’re thrilled to create opportunities for young passionate women like Kayla — she and young women are our future,” Giordano added.

OL Reign and NJ/NY Gotham FC lead the way on the First Team with three players apiece. The 2021 NWSL MVP Jess Fishlock is featured on the First Team alongside Defender of the Year Caprice Dydasco. The Washington Spirit’s Trinity Rodman is the lone rookie on the First Team, while Racing Louisville’s Emily Fox is featured on the Second Team.

The Best XI First Team and Best XI Second Team were based on a weighted voting scale comprised of players (50%), owners/GMs/coaches (20%), media (20%) and fans (10%).

2021 Best XI First Team

  • Kailen Sheridan, NJ/NY Gotham FC
  • Caprice Dydasco, NJ/NY Gotham FC
  • Alana Cook, OL Reign
  • Sarah Gorden, Chicago Red Stars
  • Carson Pickett, North Carolina Courage
  • Angela Salem, Portland Thorns FC
  • Eugenie Le Sommer, OL Reign
  • Jessica Fishlock, OL Reign
  • Trinity Rodman, Washington Spirit
  • Margaret Purce, NJ/NY Gotham FC
  • Ashley Hatch, Washington Spirit

2021 Best XI Second Team

  • Bella Bixby, Portland Thorns FC
  • Emily Fox, Racing Louisville FC
  • Sofia Huerta, OL Reign
  • Meghan Klingenberg, Portland Thorns FC
  • Emily Menges, Portland Thorns FC
  • Mallory Pugh, Chicago Red Stars
  • Rachel Daly, Houston Dash
  • Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC
  • Bethany Balcer, OL Reign
  • Ifeoma Onumonu, NJ/NY Gotham FC
  • Sydney Leroux, Orlando Pride