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.

During her U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame induction on Saturday, USWNT legend Lauren Holiday recounted the “hardest thing” she ever went through.

While pregnant with her daughter in 2016, Holiday — who retired from soccer one year earlier — learned that she would need brain surgery in order to remove a tumor.

“Unlike the toughest moments I had endured in sports, I couldn’t work or train my way out of it,” an emotional Holiday said during her Hall of Fame induction speech. “I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t outrun the fear of leaving my family too soon.”

Holiday, who won two Olympic gold medals and one World Cup title during her USWNT career, went on to explain her realization that soccer had prepared her for the unbearable feeling of waiting for her surgery.

“When I would run fitness, I would figure out the exact timing I would need to accomplish my goal. I would tell myself while running, ‘You can do anything for a minute. You can do anything for two minutes.’ Hell, on the beep test, you can do anything for 12 minutes, but you got to get to level 20.”

Holiday said she broke up the waiting — first for her daughter’s birth, and then for her brain surgery — with the belief that she just had to get through the next hour, or the next 10 minutes.

“I would repeat Psalm 30, verse 5: there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning. And each time I repeated this to myself, I found the strength to keep going.”

You can read more about this year’s U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame inductees here.

Lauren Holiday, who won the 2015 World Cup with the U.S. women’s national team, will be inducted as the first member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023, the organization announced Tuesday.

The USWNT great made 133 appearances for her country. She also excelled as a professional player, winning the NWSL MVP and Golden Boot awards in 2013 and then leading FC Kansas City to back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.

“I don’t know if I have the words to express what kind of player she is,” current USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski told the Kansas City Star when he was head coach of FC Kansas City in 2015. “She’s a magician. … All the players around her, she makes them better.”

Holiday’s husband, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, and her mother, Rita Cheney, surprised her with the news of her selection Tuesday.

Holiday started her USWNT career in 2007, the same year she earned Young Female Athlete of the Year honors from U.S. Soccer. In 2008, she made the Olympic roster in place of an injured Abby Wambach, and she played three matches en route to the gold medal.

She went on to win another Olympic gold medal and the 2015 World Cup. She scored a goal in the USWNT’s 5-2 win over Japan in the 2015 World Cup final, then retired the next day.

“I know this is where I was supposed to be for so many years, and I know that I gave my all to soccer, to the sport, to this team,” she told Sports Illustrated at the time.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame will induct Holiday and the rest of its 2023 class, still to be announced, at a May 6 ceremony in Frisco, Texas.

Former USWNT teammates Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, Kate Markgraf and Leslie Osborne are set to run in the 2021 New York City Marathon on Sunday in support of the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund (or, JLH Fund).

It’ll be Wambach’s first marathon, something she told NBC Sports will be a new experience.

“I was never shocked at myself that I could play 90 minutes of soccer,” she said. “What will be shocking to me is that I can run for four hours straight and not stop.”

Her hope is to run the marathon in under four hours.

As for the group’s mission, Holiday and husband Jrue began the JLH Social Impact Fund in 2020 to help those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and racial and social injustices. Currently, the group has raised $26,278.54 of their $26,200 goal in running the marathon for the fund.