Reign FC forward Bethany Balcer has been named the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League Rookie of the Year, the league announced Tuesday. Last week, Balcer was also named to the NWSL’s 2019 Second XI. The 22-year old who made history for becoming the first player from an NAIA school to sign an NWSL contract is also the first Reign FC player to receive the award. The rookie title was voted on by the club officials, players, media, and fans.
Balcer appeared in all 24 regular-season matches for Reign FC scoring six goals and adding two assists. Balcer’s eight points in 2019 ranked tied for 14th in the league and she was tied for fifth this season with 55 shots. Balcer led all Reign FC players in goals (6), shots on goal (22), and was tied for first in points (8).
Balcer topped off her incredible debut season with Week 7 Goal of Week honors for her header off the bar in Reign FC’s 2-1 win against the North Carolina Courage. She would add another goal that week in Reign FC’s 1-1 draw against the Houston Dash. The 22-year old also scored in the 80th minute of Reign FC’s crucial 2-0 victory over Portland Thorns FC on September 29 securing Reign FC the final playoff spot.
Washington Spirit players Jordan DiBiasi and Sam Staab finished in second and third respectively in rookie voting this year.
|ROOKIE||TOTAL OF FIRST PLACE VOTES|
The list of finalists was decided after a preliminary round of voting by owners, general managers, coaches, players and media. The finalists were then voted on by fans, owners, general managers, coaches, players and media.
Preliminary Round: Owners/GMs/Coaches (25%), Media (25%) and Players (50%)
Final Round: Fans (20%), Owners/GMs/Coaches (20%), Media (20%) and Players (40%)
Full list of NWSL Rookies of the Year
2013: Erika Tymrak, FC Kansas City
2014: Julie Johnston, Chicago Red Stars
2015: Danielle Colaprico, Chicago Red Stars
2016: Raquel Rodriguez, Sky Blue FC
2017: Ashley Hatch, North Carolina Courage
2018: Imani Dorsey, Sky Blue FC
2019: Bethany Balcer, Reign FC