On November 2, Sky Blue FC announced its End of Year Awards results, recognizing its top performers and leaders in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup and Fall Series. Awards were decided by both fan and internal voting and included MVP, Unsung Hero, Player’s Player, Friend of Fans, Community Champion, Newcomer of the Year, and Defender of the Year. The 2020 Sky Blue awards featured fan voting for the first time after previously being internal voting only. The Player’s Player award remained completely internal voting for Sky Blue FC players only.
Defender of the Year – Gina Lewandowski
A veteran of women’s soccer, Gina Lewandowski is one of the most reliable and lockdown defenders in the NWSL. During the 2020 Challenge Cup, she played all 540 minutes and had 25 clearances and 14 interceptions with a 63.2% success rate on aerial duels. Through 2020, she had a passing accuracy of 88%, making her one of the Club’s most accurate passers. Her leadership and grit were vital in the team’s success this season.
Newcomer of the Year – Midge Purce
A player that impressed General Manager Alyse LaHue with her performances for Portland against Sky Blue in 2019, Midge Purce made an immediate impact upon arriving in 2020. She brought flair and versatility to the team and split time at both forward and defender. Purce recorded one goal, two assists, and six key passes in nine appearances across all Sky Blue competitions this year. Purce’s impressive displays with Sky Blue earned her a call up to the October U.S. Women’s National Team Training Camp.
Community Champion – Midge Purce
Purce had a strong impact off the pitch in addition to her superb play. Purce helped found the Black Players of the NWSL coalition that works to uplift and support Black players in the league during the Challenge Cup. This Summer, Purce was elected to Harvard’s Board of Overseers, which provides counsel on university leadership strategy. With climate change as a platform issue for Purce’s board nomination, Purce joined the Eco Athletes Leveling the Player Field: Sports & Climate Justice panel at Climate Week NYC. Purce is very outspoken on social issues and consistently uses her platform to affect change. She has made numerous media appearances this season, discussing social justice issues, including interviews with goal.com, Bloomberg, and conversations with former National Team Defender Danielle Slayton and Roger Bennett of Men in Blazers.
Friend of Fans – Nicole Baxter
Throughout the season, Nicole Baxter has become a must-follow personality for fans of Sky Blue and the NWSL. From Instagram takeovers to taking fans through the Club’s journey in the NWSL Challenge Cup with a disposable camera, Baxter gave fans behind-the-scenes access with her humor and wit added. Finally, thanks to her “Angel Alerts” on Twitter, Baxter has become a cult hero among the Sky Blue faithful.
Unsung Hero – Sarah Woldmoe
Media may often overlook Sarah Woldmoe’s orchestral presence in the midfield, but Sky Blue’s fans recognized her tenacious efforts. Having played every minute for Sky Blue in all 2020 competitions, the Sky Blue captain was a lynchpin in the team’s midfield. Woldmoe recorded seven interceptions and 13 clearances from the midfield with 81.5% accuracy on passes and a 71.4% success rate on tackles.
Player’s Player – Kailen Sheridan
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan has been recognized by her peers as an essential part of Sky Blue’s success in 2020. Sheridan tied with Houston’s Jane Campbell for the most saves in the Challenge Cup. No one will soon forget her heroics in the Quarterfinals against Washington Spirit, where her key saves in the penalty kick shootout advanced Sky Blue to the tournament semifinals. Sheridan’s performances in the Challenge Cup earned her the 2020 Challenge Cup Golden Glove Award presented by Verizon.
MVP – Kailen Sheridan
Players and fans alike recognized the impact of Sheridan’s performances in the 2020 Challenge Cup and Fall Series. Sheridan kicked off the Fall Series, earning the first Save of the Week honors. She also earned six Verizon Save of the Match honors and two Secret Deodorant No Sweat Play of the Game accolades during the Challenge Cup. Sheridan was also named Budweiser Women of the Match in the NWSL Challenge Cup Quarterfinals. She earned three clean sheets and recorded 34 saves in all 2020 competitions.