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.

(Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

2022: Alex Morgan, San Diego Wave, 15 goals

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.

(Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2021: Ashley Hatch, Washington Spirit, 10 goals

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.

(Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2019: Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars, 18 goals

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.

(Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2018: Sam Kerr, Chicago Red Stars, 16 goals

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.

(Rich Barnes/Getty Images)

2017: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC, 17 goals

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.

(Lewis Gettier/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

2016: Lynn Williams, Western New York Flash, 11 goals

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.

(Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2015: Crystal Dunn, Washington Spirit, 15 goals

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.

(Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2014: Kim Little, Seattle Reign FC, 16 goals

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.


(Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

2013: Lauren Holiday, FC Kansas City, 12 goals

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.

Kim Little ended her loan with OL Reign on a high, notching an assist Sunday in her final NWSL game before returning to Women’s Super League club Arsenal.

The 32-year-old served in a perfectly weighted ball to Megan Rapinoe before the OL Reign forward chested down the ball and struck the half-volley past Jane Campbell. Rapinoe’s finish marked the first NWSL goal of 2022 for the USWNT star.

“The people here are really special and every time I come, that fills my heart,” said Little after Sunday’s match. Though Little capped off her second stint with OL Reign with a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dash, the Arsenal star left with confidence in the Seattle club.

“The team we’ve got here is unbelievable and the result today doesn’t show that,” Little said. “I have no doubt this team will be successful come the end of the season. I’ll be watching and supporting them from London.”

Little signed a deal with OL Reign in May, joining the NWSL team on a short-term loan ahead of Arsenal’s preseason. The midfielder previously played with OL Reign between 2014 and 2016, Scoring 32 goals across 63 regular-season appearances while helping the club to two NWSL Shield titles in 2014 and 2015.

Little played 495 minutes in six starts during her summer stint with OL Reign.

Arsenal captain Kim Little is returning to the NWSL, with the 31-year-old joining OL Reign on a short-term loan.

The Scottish striker’s stint with the Seattle-based club kicks off on June 1 and will conclude on Aug. 15 ahead of Arsenal’s preseason.

This isn’t Little’s first run with OL Reign. She played with the team, then known as Seattle Reign FC, between 2014 and 2016. Scoring 32 goals across 63 regular-season appearances, Little led the club to two NWSL Shield titles in 2014 and 2015 and earned NWSL MVP during the 2014 campaign.

“Bringing Kim back to the PNW is huge, Kim will go down in history as one of the best players to ever play in the NWSL and to have the chance to work with her again is exciting,” OL Reign coach Laura Harvey said in a statement. “I’d like to thank Arsenal for helping make this happen. This is a unique opportunity for us and one that we felt could be a huge impact on our squad in a crazy summer schedule. Kim’s ability and experience will be crucial for us to help continue to push our performances forward and help continue the growth of our young squad.”

OL Reign sits in third in the NWSL standings with a 2-3-1 record to start the season.

It was a fantastic day for the Arsenal women and Tobin Heath’s debut as they trounced Manchester City 5-0 to go on top of the Women’s Super League.

Arsenal captured the first two goals during a ruthless first-half performance. Man City had plenty of opportunities but was unable to defend against Vivianne Miedema’s opening goal, followed by a finish from Kim Little.

Arsenal grabbed another one when Kate McCabe made a brilliant run infield from the left and rammed home a deflected shot in the 60th minute.

A Man City foul on Little gave Arsenal another chance at the 78th mark. Little lifted the penalty into the top corner of the net, giving Arsenal a 4-0 lead.

Less than 10 minutes later, Tobin Heath made her Arsenal debut, after leaving Manchester United at the end of the 2020 season.

In the last act of the game, Leah Williamson wrapped things up with a header from Caitlin Foord’s corner. Arsenal completed their win with four different players on the scoresheet.

Next up, Arsenal will play Tottenham in the quarter-final on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

In this week’s episode of The Soccer Show, Former English international Laura Bassett joins Haley Kopmeyer and Dave Copeland-Smith to break down who we can expect to see from the Super League on Team GB’s Olympic roster.

Lucy Bronze, Manchester City

Bassett says Bronze is an absolute lock for Team GB, even declaring the defender as one of the best players in the world. Her winning mentality, Bassett says, will be critical for the team’s success at the Olympics.

Caroline Weir, Manchester City

The Scottish international gets Bassett’s vote for the Olympic roster because of the versatility and offensive production Weir brings to the midfield, something the team is currently lacking.

Jill Scott, Everton

Scott’s decision to leave Manchester City for Everton will likely pay off with a ticket to the Olympics, according to Bassett. With more minutes at Everton, the English midfielder has shown the energy and leadership she can bring to a team.

Kim Little,Arsenal

Kim Little, the set piece queen (or at least that’s what Bassett calls her) is a lock as well. The Scottish footballer has come up clutch again and again for Arsenal, and for that reason, we should expect to see her on Team GB in the Olympics.

Watch the full episode below:

Kim Little captains Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League and vice-captains the Scotland women’s national team. 

How has being in lockdown affected training and games?

The first lockdown from March until, God when was that, until June, obviously that stopped everything completely. And then we restarted again in mid to end of August with the games. And training and games are pretty much back to normal in terms of what we do in terms of training and playing. Obviously the external and the surroundings with fans and interactions in person are obviously way fewer, if not completely missing now.

You kind of get used to it, I suppose. It’s been a few months now, so it feels a bit normal. It’s still very unusual and a unique situation in terms of the restrictions in place even when we are at our training ground, and in the stadiums.

And I read that in February you were coming off of an injury and had surgery on your foot?

Yeah, I had surgery early February, so before the pandemic hit, or around the time when everyone was finding out. When I went into lockdown, I think I was still in a boot at that point actually. I was just going through early stages of my rehab, which was interesting. It seems a long time ago now to be honest.

Was it a hard transition to get back into playing after the lockdown and your rehab?

When you look at it in the whole perspective, I didn’t necessarily miss too much football. So, if I’m looking at it from a selfish perspective, that was obviously good I think. Doing rehab in lockdown was obviously very different, I did most of it at home, which is with no kind of treatment or seeing a physio regularly, not until later down the line into June and stuff when we were allowed to see people and be treated by people. So that was different, but you just adapt, and obviously you can’t do anything about the circumstances. I tried to make the most of the situation with just a focus to be back whenever football started again.

Before the international break, you had a tough loss to Manchester United which knocked you off of the top spot. What do you think needs to happen to get back to the top of the standings this year?

I think the league is more competitive than it’s ever been. All the games are challenging, and you need to be at the top of your game if you want to get the results from them. And we didn’t play particularly well against Man United. They played a lot better, were very physical, and dominated parts of the game which we just didn’t control. It was disappointing to lose, but obviously credit to them for turning up and being better than us.

We can turn it around. I think we need to show up, first and foremost, individually. I think too many of us will put our hands up and say we didn’t play to our potential. And then with that, come together as a collective, and make sure we’re hard to break down, and then obviously our creativity and our ability will take care of itself. But yeah, it’s just focusing on the fundamentals and the basics for us.

Do you think FAWSL is now the most competitive league in the world?

I think it’s hard for me to comment on that. I wouldn’t say I watch too much football from the other leagues, so I can’t say I can comment too much on that. But I think in terms of the players you have here now, in terms of the competitiveness for all the teams, I would say so in comparison to maybe the German or French league, or even the Spanish. I think that’s due to obviously the players that have been here for a long time, but also the influx of international players from Australia, from America, who raise the standard across the board.

We saw a bunch of US national team players jump overseas this year. What do you think it means to have so many big Americans playing in the FAWSL?

I think it’s good for the league over here just to have them come in. I think European players have been coming into the league for the last few years now, but maybe not so much globally from America, and Australia, and different continents. I think it brings another kind of edge to the game, and obviously a bit more exposure to the league here from America and Australia, like I said. And I think it’s great for the women’s game that there’s all this movement and diversity within the league, and it’s only good for providing a great product to watch.

You have also played a few seasons before in the NWSL. How do you think it compares to where you are now?

Yeah, I played in Seattle for three seasons under Laura Harvey. I would say at Seattle we had a few European players and Japanese players, and we played quite a European style. It’s kind of similar to how we play at Arsenal. Obviously, there’s different players so it varies a bit. I think the leagues are so different just for many reasons. The form of the league, and how it works in America is obviously different to Europe in terms of championship matches, playoffs, which we don’t have here. Here we have so many more competitions, the season is so much longer. So, it’s quite nice to have played in both, and to understand the difficulties, and what makes them so good. And then obviously in America the travel is such a big part of it, and you’re going from timezone to timezone weekly. And when I was in England obviously our longest journey was maybe a three or four hour bus journey. So, there’s so many contrasting things about the leagues that make them what they are. I’m glad to experience both, for sure.