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NWSL Golden Boot race: Where it stands after the World Cup

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Sophia Smith returns from the World Cup in the NWSL Golden Boot race lead. (Craig Mitchelldyer/USA TODAY Sports)

As the NWSL regular season gets back underway this weekend, Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at where the Golden Boot race stands and who could end up being the league’s top scorer.

Alex Morgan won last year’s Golden Boot award with 15 goals, and she currently has five goals for the San Diego Wave this season. Reigning league MVP and Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith was close behind Morgan in 2022 and now holds the top spot in the league, while 2021 winner and Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch is tied for second.

Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns
10 goals

Smith entered the international break on a high, scoring a hat trick in her final game with Portland before leaving to represent the U.S. women’s national team at the World Cup. In addition to her 10 goals this season, she has five assists, which ranks second in the league behind teammate Sam Coffey.

Of Smith’s goals, four have come off her left foot and six off her right. Her goals from inside and outside of the box are split evenly.

Ashley Hatch, Washington Spirit
8 goals

The former Golden Boot winner is in the hunt again this season with eight goals. After being left off the USWNT’s World Cup roster, Hatch scored two goals during the Challenge Cup while the regular season was paused. Now, she re-enters the regular season with momentum after others in the race were out with their international squads.

Kerolin, North Carolina Courage
8 goals

Brazilian star Kerolin had eight goals before leaving for the World Cup, seven of which came inside the box. She also scored all of them with her right foot. Kerolin held the Golden Boot lead before Smith’s pre-World Cup hat trick, and could jump back to the front if she picks up where she left off before the international break.

Lynn Williams, Gotham FC
7 goals

Williams was in the midst of a breakout season with her new club following a return from injury. She’s been the centerpiece of Gotham’s offense this season, scoring seven goals — which is more than Gotham scored as the team all of last year. Six of her goals have come inside the box, and she’s had 30 shots on target out of 48 total shots.

Other top scorers

6 goals

Debinha, Kansas City Current

5 goals

Bethany Balcer, OL Reign
Savannah DeMelo, Racing Louisville
Crystal Dunn, Portland Thorns
Alex Morgan, San Diego Wave

4 goals

Messiah Bright, Orlando Pride
Jordyn Huitema, OL Reign
Cece Kizer, Kansas City Current
Veronica Latsko, OL Reign
Tyler Lussi, North Carolina Courage
Trinity Rodman, Washington Spirit
Ashley Sanchez, Washington Spirit
Jaedyn Shaw, San Diego Wave
Ella Stevens, Chicago Red Stars
Morgan Weaver, Portland Thorns