Whitehill, Sanderson, Leroux garner team award honors

  The Boston Breakers have announced their Team Awards for the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League season: Golden Boot, Team MVP, and Defender of the Year. Media, Breakers players, and staff were invited to vote for the Breakers MVP and Defender of the Year awards. The Golden Boot went to the team’s leading scorer.

 The Boston Breakers have announced their Team Awards for the 2013 National Women’s Soccer League season. The categories are: Golden Boot, Team MVP, and Defender of the Year. Media, Breakers players, and staff were invited to vote for the Breakers MVP and Defender of the Year awards. The Golden Boot went to the leading scorer.

The winners are:

Golden Boot (most goals scored in a season): Sydney Leroux

Team MVP: Lianne Sanderson

Defender of the Year: Cat Whitehill

Leroux, who finished third in the NWSL Rookie of the Year voting, behind FC Kansas City’s Erika Tymrak and Western New York keeper AD Franch, scored 11 goals in 19 games for the Breakers this season, and she tallied two assists. Four of her goals were game-winners. She logged 1,694 minutes, seventh most on the team. Leroux also finished with 30 shots on goal, second to only Heather O’Reilly, who had 32. Leroux was twice named NWSL Player of the Week (Week 4 and Week 13). Her 11 goals were tied for second in the NWSL with Abby Wambach. Lauren Holiday won the league’s Golden Boot with 12 goals.

Breakers Golden Boot winner Sydney Leroux (Photos by Mike Gridley)

"Syd is an out and out threat," Boston Breakers General Manager Lee Billiard said. "She proved she can be a threat over 90 minutes and scored some fabulous and important goals for us. She can get a goal from out of nothing. Her speed causes trouble, and her focus in front of goal led to her winning this award and just missing out on the overall NWSL golden boot. In my opinion, you will always see Syd top or close to the top in this category every year."

Sanderson was one of only three Breakers to play in all 22 games. She started 21, finishing with 1,913 minutes played, second highest on the team. Sanderson ranked third in the NWSL, and led the team, in assists (7). She also scored five goals (tied for second on the team with O’Reilly). Her five goals scored on just 15 shots on goal ranks as one of the best scoring percentages in the NWSL. Sanderson was named NWSL Player of the Week for Week 7, assisting on all three Breakers goals in a 3-0 win May 25 over the Washington Spirit. She also drew 33 fouls, fourth most in the league and didn’t receive one caution this season.

Lianne Sanderson, Team MVP

"This was Lianne’s first year as a Breaker. She had a great season. Her technical ability on the ball is the best in the league for me."
Breakers General Manager Lee Billiard said. "She is a threat; opponents figured that out and pressured her quickly or doubled up. She is a great talent, has a real passion for the game, and had a great first season for us. The scary thing is, I know she can be even better."

Whitehill, in her second year as a member of the Boston Breakers, served as team captain this season. She was one of only three Breakers to play all 22 games and the only player on the team to start all 22 games. Only 12 players in the NWSL started all 22 games this year. Whitehill also led the Breakers in minutes played with 1,978, which ranked her second in the NWSL. Whitehill was instrumental on the Breakers back line this season, making a handful of clearances off the line to prevent goals. She also scored one goal and had two assists.

Team Defender of the Year, Cat Whitehill

"One thing you get from Cat is consistency," Billiard said. "She is a consistent player, and that consistency is always at a high level. She has such a good soccer brain and was a real leader and rock in our back line. Her and Kia McNeill formed a great partnership. Players can learn so much from simply playing with or alongside Cat."

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