Boyds, Md. (Sept. 24, 2018) – The Washington Spirit 2018 Team Awards voting has concluded and the winners are ready to be announced. Spirit captain and defensive stalwart Estelle Johnson took home Defender of the Year honors, while record-breaking goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe was voted as Most Valuable Player. Ashley Hatch earned the Spirit’s Golden Boot trophy, leading the team in goals.
Defender of the Year – Estelle Johnson
Johnson was the captain of a Washington back-line that produced four shutouts on the year. The captain lead Washington in clearances, knocking the ball away 122 times, and finished second in interceptions among defenders, swiping 56 passes on the year. Johnson also collected an NWSL Team of the Month Honor in for her performances in April against the Courage, Pride, and Thorns. Johnson was reliable over the long season, as she made 21 appearances for the Spirit in 2018, starting in all games in which she appeared. [VIDEO]
Most Valuable Player – Aubrey Bledsoe
Bledsoe joined the team after a trade in January 2018, but has already made her mark in Washington. The Washington keeper broke the single season save record, stopping 108 shots for the Spirit. Bledsoe also won back-to-back NWSL Save of the Week awards in Weeks 5 and 6, and was awarded NWSL Player of the Week in for her efforts in Weeks 11 and 12. In addition, Bledsoe’s save on July 11th against the Courage was voted the No. 1 play on ESPN’s SportCenter Top 10. [VIDEO]
Golden Boot – Ashley Hatch
Hatch followed up her 2017 Rookie of the Year season with another strong goal-scoring campaign in 2018, finding the net four times during her first season with Washington. Over the season, Hatch struck twice against Orlando, once against Houston, and notched a game-winning goal against Sky Blue FC in late June. In addition to her four goals, Hatch also earned an assist against the Pride. Hatch took aim often, finishing fifth in the NWSL for shots with 56. [VIDEO]