58. Adrianna Franch
After being called up for several camps by Jill Ellis in 2016, this season was a big one for Portland Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.
The 27-year-old has certainly been a late bloomer in the game, but in 2017 she had her best season yet, helping the Thorns to the NWSL title and being named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year.
Franch won Save of the Week four times during the course of the season and played every single minute of Portland’s run to the championship.
With Hope Solo’s permanent replacement as the USA’s number one still up for grabs, 2018 is potentially an even bigger year for Franch.
Mark Parsons, Portland Thorns manager says:
“Nadine [Angerer]’s words would be she was the best performing goalkeeper in the league by a long, long way, and there’s some fantastic goalkeepers in this league. We started saying in May that she was ahead of everyone and that if that continued she’d be ahead at the end. People called me crazy and people were going after her after a difficult couple of games, people never let that go.
“It was a weird, weird thing. Commentators and the media hooked onto her distribution, but her distribution has been a huge asset for us. I’m glad it’s worked out well, Nadine is very thorough in her coaching and her scouting of other goalkeepers in the league. There was a crazy stat about Adrianna this season, she didn’t drop a single ball into the box all season, the only goalkeeper who did that. Now she needs to take it into next season to convince Jill she’s ready for the step up to the USWNT.”
Jen Cooper, US women’s football writer says:
“After setting records in her rookie season in 2013, Adrianna Franch did not own a starting spot in NWSL again until this year, after dealing with injury and a brief spell outside the USA and playing second string to Portland’s Michelle Betos last year. But 2017 was all Franch in goal for the Thorns and she set a league record for shutouts in a single season 911) and also maintained a firm grasp on the best career GAA in NWSL.
“Her consistent club performance (and shutout in the NWSL Championship match) earned Franch another USWNT call-up. She has yet to be capped by the first team, but she has an excellent chance at challenging for one of the three goalkeeper spots for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.”