Defender of the Year: Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina Courage
Dahlkemper played every minute in 2017
North Carolina defender Abby Dahlkemper in action for the Courage. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/
North Carolina defender Abby Dahlkemper in action for the Courage. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/

North Carolina Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper has been named the 2017 NWSL Defender of the Year, the league announced Thursday. The award was voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on consistent basis and fans.

Once again, Dahlkemper played every minute of the season, one of just four field players to do so in the NWSL this year. She is the all-time leader in consecutive minutes played, an active streak.

Dahlkemper anchored a Courage backline that set a record with 12 shutouts and conceded just 22 goals (second-best in the league). The 0.92 goals against average for North Carolina is the fourth best mark in league history. She tied for the team-high with 88 clearances and only trailed midfielders Sam Mewis and McCall Zerboni in total touches for the Courage.


Dahlkemper also contributed on the offensive side of the ball with two assists as she took most of North Carolina’s set pieces. She led the league by a wide margin with 116 corner kicks taken during the regular season. North Carolina was the most efficient team on corner kicks this season, with 55.6% of their corners resulting in a shot on goal.


Her two assists came on Mewis goals, both from free kicks. Her first was on a long free kick for the first goal in North Carolina’s 3-2 comeback win over Washington that clinched the team a playoff spot. Her second came on a quick restart for the game-winning goal in a 4-0 win over Houston that clinched the NWSL Shield.


Dahlkemper is just the third player to ever win the award. FC Kansas City defender Becky Sauerbrunn won the first three before Seattle Reign FC defender Lauren Barnes won last year.

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