Sophia Smith becomes youngest U.S. Female Player of the Year since Mia Hamm

National Women's Soccer League MVP Sophia Smith was voted the 2022 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, the sport's governing body said on Friday, after scoring 11 goals for the national team last year.

The 22-year-old forward helped the Portland Thorns to their third NWSL final and scored three braces in international matches. She also scored a hat-trick against Uzbekistan in a friendly match in April.

"Obviously this is surreal, and I’m super humbled," Smith said in a statement. "I appreciate everyone holding me to such high standards day in and day out."

She is the youngest to win the honor since Mia Hamm in 1994 when the striker was also 22.

Smith is widely expected to feature in the upcoming World Cup, where the Americans will battle for an unprecedented third successive title. She is not in the squad for a pair of friendlies this month in New Zealand, however, as she recovers from injury.

"She is a special player with special qualities, but the best thing is that has the humbleness, work ethic and drive to keep developing all aspects of her game," said U.S. women's national team coach Vlatko Andonovski.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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