Ertz, Kerr, Short Named to Best XI while Nagasato and Naeher Get on Second XI
CHICAGO — The National Women’s Soccer League announced the players named to the NWSL Best and Second XI for the 2019 season. Five Chicago Red Stars were named across both teams. Julie Ertz, Sam Kerr, and Casey Short earned a place on the league’s Best XI for the season, while Alyssa Naeher and Yuki Nagasato were named to the NWSL Second XI.
Ertz is on the Best XI for the second time in her career. The Chicago Red Stars captain commandeered the defense, making 14 appearances for Chicago this season. Following the return of the World Cup, Ertz helped the Red Stars to a second-place regular-season finish. She was a member of a defensive squad that was stellar for Chicago in the final month of the season. With Ertz at the helm, the Chicago offense won a franchise-record five consecutive games and allowed only two goals during that span.
Kerr makes the NWSL Best XI for the third straight season. She was the league’s most prolific goalscorer in 2019. Kerr topped the scoring charts en route to an unprecedented third-consecutive Golden Boot Award. The forward smashed the record for most goals in a single season with 18, topping the previous record she set herself back in 2017. Kerr had five multi-goal games this season, including a hat-trick against Orlando in June. For her key performances, she was awarded two NWSL Player of the Month Awards and a record five NWSL Player of the Week honors.
This is the second career appearance for Short on the NWSL Best XI. Short made history this season when she became the only player in league history to feature on all six editions of the NWSL Team of the Month. Short was a key figure of a Chicago defense that had seven clean sheets this season, including a standout September where they had three clean sheets and allowed only two goals in five games to close out the regular season. Short was also a big contributor on offense. She finished the season with two goals and three assists.
Naeher makes the NWSL Second XI for the first time since 2016. Following her heroics in this summer’s World Cup, Naeher returned to Chicago and had a fantastic finish to the season. Naeher has seven clean sheets since July 21st, the most of any goalkeeper during that time span. She also ranks eighth in the league with 43 saves and held opponents scoreless in three consecutive games in two separate stretches throughout the season.
Nagasato makes her career debut on the NWSL Second XI following her best season since joining Chicago. The 2011 World Cup Champion had NWSL career highs in goals and assists. Nagasato scored eight goals this season, including two goals in the final ten minutes of the game to earn key points for the Red Stars. Her ability to provide goals was on display as well as Nagasato led the league with eight assists this season. Nagasato was named NWSL Player of the Week once and earned a spot in the league’s Team of the Month twice.
Chicago’s five inclusions on both teams are the most by any NWSL team this year. The Red Stars will take the field on Sunday, October 27 when the Red Stars face the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL Championship. Kickoff from WakeMed Soccer Park is scheduled for 2:30pm CT on ESPN.