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Defender Sam Staab named to First Team while forwards Ashley Hatch and Trinity Rodman receive Second Team nods.
Washington, D.C. (11/06/2023) – Three Washington Spirit players have been recognized as members of the NWSL’s Best XI, presented by Mastercard, the league announced today. Defender Sam Staab was named to the First Team while forwards Ashley Hatch and Trinity Rodman were voted to the Second Team for their outstanding performance during the 2023 regular season.
Staab ended her 2023 campaign by completing her third career Iron Woman season, playing all 1,980 minutes of the regular season, as well as by extending her league record for consecutive regular season starts to 90. Staab is just the second field player in league history to record three Iron Woman seasons, joining teammate Amber Brooks. She has started every regular season match of her career, dating back to her first professional season in 2019. Staab joins San Diego’s Naomi Girma, Angel City’s Sarah Gorden and Gotham’s Ali Krieger on the backline of the year’s Best XI First Team, presented by Mastercard. Staab was also named to the league’s Best XI of the Month, presented by Mastercard for her performance during March/April and May competition.
A key component in the Spirit’s defense, Staab helped the Spirit to four clean sheets during the 2023 regular season (five across all competitions). Additionally, Staab led the Spirit defense in allowing four fewer goals against in 2023 than it did a year ago, helping the side to an 11-point improvement on the league table. As a dominant force on the counter attack, Staab led the league in passes into the final third this season with 243, leading the second place player by 29. She also blocked 7.43% of shots faced, the third-highest rate in the NWSL among players who faced 250+ shots, and had 84 clearances, good for top five in the league. Staab was one of just two players to notch over 20 blocks and 20 interceptions on the year.
One of the most consistent goal-scorers in the NWSL, Hatch recorded nine goals and two assists during the 2023 regular season, matching her goals output from 2022, and extending her career total to 46 regular season goals (eighth-most all-time). Her 39 regular season goals during her Spirit career make her the club’s all-time scoring leader. Two of the standout forward’s scores were game-winners (April 15 at North Carolina and May 13 at Angel City) and she notched a perfect five-for-five record from the penalty spot, extending her career mark to seven-for-seven.
A starter in all 22 regular season matches for the Spirit this season, Hatch saw 1,838 minutes of action, the most amongst all Spirit forwards, and made ten full-90 appearances. Hatch also played at least 87 minutes in 15 of her 22 appearances. Hatch was also named to the NWSL’s Best XI of the Month, presented by Mastercard for her stellar play in July.
In her third professional season, Rodman tallied five goals and two assists, including two world-class game-winners in front of home Spirit crowds at Audi Field. Rodman notched the first goal of the season for Washington with the second-half strike from outside the box to deliver the Spirit a win during kickoff weekend and connected on a stoppage time score in late September to end a winless drought for the side.
As one of the league’s most explosive offensive threats, Rodman led the Spirit in shots and shots on goal despite missing significant time during the summer as she competed in her first World Cup for the United States. Also this season, at just 21 years of age, Rodman made her 50th career regular season appearance in the NWSL and already has herself positioned to tie the all-time Spirit record with her next assist. With her assist of Ashley Sanchez’s game-winner in May 6’s nationally-televised match against San Diego Wave FC, Rodman became the first player to record ten goals and ten assists before her 21st birthday in league regular season history.
This is Staab’s first selection to the year-end Best XI, presented by Mastercard. She was previously a finalist for Rookie of the Year in 2019 and is a finalist for Defender of the Year this season. Hatch and Rodman were previously named to the 2021 First Team prior to this season’s Second Team honors. Hatch earned the NWSL’s Golden Boot award in 2021 as well, scoring the most goals during the regular season, while Rodman took home that season’s Rookie of the Year award. Hatch was also named Rookie of the Year following the 2017 campaign.
The NWSL’s Best XI First Team and Best XI Second Team are based on a weighted voting scale comprised of players (40%), owners/GMs/coaches (25%), media (25%) and fans (10%).
About The Washington Spirit
The Washington Spirit is the professional women’s soccer team based at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Launched in 2012, the Spirit plays in the National Women’s Soccer League, the premier women’s soccer competition in North America. For more information about the Spirit, visit WashingtonSpirit.com and follow the club on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.