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Three FC Gold Pride Players Earn WPS Year-End Honors

September 16, 2010 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - FC Gold Pride News Release

HAYWARD, CA (September 16, 2010) - Women's Professional Soccer announced its 2010 WPS Year-End Awards on Thursday, three days before the 2010 WPS Playoffs presented by MedImmune kick-off on Sunday in Philadelphia.

FC Gold Pride forward Martaas named the Michelle Akers Player of the Year as the WPS Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. Regular season champions FC Gold Pride players won a total of three awards including Player of the Year, Coast Guard Goalkeeper of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

In her first year as a professional, defender Ali Riley, has been an integral cog in the Pride's success in 2010. The former Stanford Cardinal was a regular in the Pride's back line, which, with the help of Riley, proved to be the best in the league.

Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhartwas selected as the league's top goalkeeper for her stellar performance throughout the season. In her second year with the Pride, the steady play of the US National Team veteran proved to be invaluable as she held opponents to the lowest goals against average in the league (0.88) and posting 8 shutouts, also a WPS-best.

Five separate awards were decided by fan voting (33%), player/coach voting (33%) and media vote (33%) during the final weeks of the regular season. The Citi Sportswoman of the Year Award is voted on entirely by players and coaches, while the PUMA Golden Boot award is awarded to the top goal scorer during the 2010 WPS Regular Season.

2010 WPS Year-End Awards

Michelle Akers Player of the Year Marta (FC Gold Pride)

Scoring 19 goals in 24 games and notching five assists, Marta was selected as WPS Player of the Week three times this season while leading FC Gold Pride to the regular season title and a WPS record 13-game unbeaten streak during the second half of the season. Her 19 goals almost doubled last year's record of 10 goals in a season giving her the league's MVP award for the second straight year.

MedImmune Defender of the Year Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers)

A mainstay at central defense, LePeilbet helped lead the Boston Breakers to a second-place finish in the regular season standings and a 9-3-2 record after the All-Star break. A speedy and sturdy defender who regularly marks her opponent's best offensive threat, LePeilbet was the leader of Boston's defense which was third in the league in goals allowed and allowing just eight multi-goal games by their opponents all season. This is her second-straight Defender of the Year Award.

Coast Guard Goalkeeper of the Year Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride)

She may have had one of the best defensive backlines in front of her, but Nicole Barnhart was a big reason for FC Gold Pride's defensive dominance all season. Barnhart pitched eight shutouts to lead the league and was second in saves with 73 and second in save percentage.

WPS Rookie of the Year Ali Riley (FC Gold Pride)

The left defender started 23 games for regular season champions FC Gold Pride this season and had three assists. Her solid defensive play helped FC Gold Pride lead the league in team defense with just 19 goals allowed, while her consistently aggressive runs up the left flank and dangerous crosses created opportunities and space for FC Gold Pride's forwards throughout the season.

WPS Coach of the Year Paul Riley (Philadelphia Independence)

Philadelphia Head Coach Paul Riley earned WPS Coach of the Year honors after leading the expansion Independence to a third-place regular season finish and a berth in the 2010 WPS Playoffs. In his first year with the expansion franchise, Riley put together a veteran squad that was second in the standings for much of the season and finished with a regular season record of 10-10-4 to clinch a home playoff game.

Citi Sportswoman of the Year Natalie Spilger (Chicago Red Stars)

Natalie Spilger was selected by her peers as the Citi Sportswoman of the Year for her organization which has brought awareness to global environmental issues and energy conservation by using athletes as environmental leaders in their countries and communities.

PUMA Golden Boot (Top Scorer) Marta (FC Gold Pride)

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