The 2023 Golden Boot race is nearing the finish line, with Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith holding a one-goal lead over her nearest competitor.
Still, North Carolina Courage forward Kerolin (10 goals) would need a brace to overtake Smith (11 goals), as the reigning league MVP holds the tiebreaker. The final day of the 2023 regular season will decide the playoff and Golden Boot races.
Ahead of decision day, Just Women’s Sports takes a look back at the history of NWSL Golden Boot winners.
In San Diego’s inaugural season in the NWSL, Morgan put on a show, tallying 15 goals in 17 games. A career-best for the star forward, the total included three braces, plus four goals in one game to tie an NWSL record.
Hatch earned the 2021 Golden Boot with just 10 goals in 20 games, the lowest total needed to earn the award in league history. Her 10 goals were a career best, which Hatch has nearly matched with nine goals in 2023.
In 2019, Kerr broke her own single-season goal scoring record with 18 goals, a mark that still stands. She also won her third consecutive scoring title; no other player has won more than once. Kerr still stands alone atop the NWSL with 77 career goals, despite departing for the Women’s Super League after the 2019 season.
Kerr also won the scoring title in 2018, along the way becoming the first player to reach 50 goals in NWSL history. She finished the season with 59.
For Kerr’s first of three scoring titles, the Australian phenom set a single-season record that she broke herself two years later. Kerr scored 17 goals in 22 games, none of them on penalty kicks. She also became the first player in NWSL history to reach 50 career points.
Lynn Williams capped her second NWSL season with the Golden Boot. For the first time in league history, two players atop the goals leaderboard, as Williams and Kealia Ohai Watt both finished with 11. But Williams held the tiebreaker, with five assists to Watt’s four.
Dunn had a standout 2015 season, scoring 15 goals to take home the Golden Boot. At 23 years old, she also became the youngest player in league history to take home the league MVP award, a milestone eclipsed by Smith in 2022.
With 16 goals in 23 games, Little went on scoring tear. From May through June, Little scored a goal in six consecutive games. She had a goal against each NWSL team that season, including five against the Dash.
The future Hall of Famer won the inaugural NWSL scoring title with 12 goals for FC Kansas City. She also ranked fourth in shots and shots on goal, registering a goal or an assist in 10 consecutive games. Holiday also was named league MVP in 2013.