San Diego Spirit's Joy Fawcett Named WUSA Defender of the Year

August 20, 2003 - Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) - San Diego Spirit News Release

SAN DIEGO - Joy Fawcett has been named the 2003 WUSA Defender of the Year as well as to the All-WUSA First Team, the league announced today. The Defender of the Year and the All-WUSA Teams are chosen in voting by WUSA coaches, general managers, players and members of the media.

"I've got two great families with my husband Walt and my kids, and my Spirit teammates," said Fawcett. "It's their support that allows me to keep playing at a high level. Defense is about all 11 players on the field, so I really consider this a team award."

While Fawcett was the Spirit's lone representative on the All-WUSA First Team, San Diego placed three players on the All-WUSA Second Team in midfielders Julie Foudy and Aly Wagner and forward Julie Fleeting. It was Foudy's third consecutive selection to the All-WUSA Second Team, while Wagner and Fleeting earned their first all-league honors. The Washington Freedom's Abby Wambach was the only American among the six forwards on the All-WUSA First and Second Teams. With the announcement of forward Christine Latham's WUSA Rookie of the Year honor yesterday, today's announcement give the Spirit a solid representation in the WUSA post-season awards.

Long hailed as one of the best defenders in the world, Fawcett was the key player on a Spirit defense that allowed the second fewest goals in the WUSA, despite being the only team in the league that consistently played with a three-woman back line. Fawcett played in the middle of that defense, flanked by Kim Pickup and Lisa Krzykowski, and was consistently stellar throughout the season.

Fawcett rebounded from early season ankle surgery to remove bone spurs, missing just one game (a Spirit loss) and returned to the field in 11 days to help lead the Spirit to its most successful season and into the playoffs for the first time.

"The WUSA is the best women's league in the world, and for Joy to consistently excel in every game shows just how good she is," said Spirit head coach Omid Namazi. "There are some great defenders in the league, but Joy was definitely deserving of this honor. She was outstanding in every game."

At 35 and with three daughters, Fawcett has served as a tremendous role model to millions of "soccer moms" across the country and continues to play at a world-class level.

"Joy plays at such a high level, you don't think she can get any better, but she always does," said Spirit captain Julie Foudy. "She directs, she leads, she organizes and she makes everyone around her better. I can't wait to see how she plays with eight kids."

With 214 career games for the U.S. National Team, Fawcett is the fourth most-capped player in the history of the world and the highest scoring defender in U.S. Soccer history with 26 career goals. She will join the national team as the squad begins its pre-Women's World Cup training on Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.

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