NJ/NY Gotham FC fullback Caprice Dydasco named 2021 NWSL Defender of the Year

With the National Women’s Soccer League championship game just days away on CBS, the league has started handing out end-of-year awards. On Monday, NJ/NY Gotham FC fullback Caprice Dydasco was named the 2021 NWSL Defender of the Year. 

The list of finalists was decided after a preliminary round of voting by owners, general managers, coaches, players and media. Dydasco was one of five finalists for the award along with Chicago Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden, Portland Thorns center back Emily Menges, North Carolina Courage fullback Carson Pickett and OL Reign defender Alana Cook.

Gorden earned second place in the voting, followed by Menges, Pickett, and Cook. The list of finalists was determined by a preliminary round of voting by owners, general managers, coaches, players and media. The finalists were then voted on by fans (10%), owners, general managers, coaches (20%), media (20%), and players (50%).

The Honolulu, Hawaii, native made history as the first player of Asian American Pacific Islander decent to earn the award. She made 24 starts for Gotham FC, winning over 60 percent of her tackles. Dydasco covered lots of ground for her club, making 49 clearances and 49 interceptions, the most of any defender in the league. She earned Team of the Month honors five times during the regular season, most of any players this year. 

Let’s take a look at some of Dydasco’s big moments in 2021:

First NWSL goal

Drafted in 2015, Dydasco suffered an ACL injury with the Washington Spirit during the 2016 NWSL Championship. After a trade to the Gotham FC, she then suffered another torn ACL ahead of the 2020 Challenge Cup, and was unable to compete with the team during their semifinal run. After a long road to recovery, Dydasco earned her 100th NWSL appearance during the 2021 regular season, and scored the first goal of her NWSL career. 

Service specialist

Along with her first career goal, Dydasco also recorded five assists this year — good for second-best in the league — and was able to provide service to her teammates along the flank and on set pieces.

Gotham FC were eliminated from playoff contention in the opening round to the Chicago Red Stars, one of the eventual finalists, though Dydasco got the better of the squad during the regular season. 

Remaining awards

The league has four remaining individual awards to announce throughout the remainder of the week. Coach of the year, Rookie of the Year, Goalkeeper of the Year, and Most Valuable Player. Awards are expected to roll out in the build-up to the NWSL Championship on Nov. 20 on CBS

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