METUCHEN, NJ - The 2017 United Women’s Soccer (UWS) season may have concluded last weekend on the pitch but the news has not stopped off of it as the annual end-of-season conference and league awards are set to be announced. The UWS West is first off the proverbial bench as 14 players were selected to the All-Conference Team. Two players from the West champion Santa Clarita Blue Heat were named Player & Defensive Player of the Year while the leader of a first-year organization nabbed Coach of the Year honors.
Coach Of The Year
TROYE FLANNERY (Calgary Foothills Women’s FC)
It was certainly an uphill battle for the first-year Calgary organization this season, and Flannery’s side stepped right up to the challenge. While CFWFC were not able to get a positive result against the West champions, the team was able to nab a second-place finish ahead of two storied franchises in the Real Salt Lake Women and the Houston Aces. An alumnus of the Trinity Western University soccer program where he both played and coached, Troye has spent his coaching career expanding his knowledge and credentials for the game by coaching at a variety of levels including: CIS, CCAA, PDL/Super "Y" League and the AMSL.
Player Of The Year
DEYNA CASTELLANOS (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
Castellanos came into her summer stint with the defending UWS champions Santa Clarita with a burgeoning reputation on the world soccer stage and did not disappoint. The young Venezuelan international & Florida State University star led the team in scoring (five goals, assist) which included an astonishing four game-winning goals and was named to the UWS Team of the Week on four occasions. Deyna’s skill over the ball was known, but her work rate off the ball was also a sight to see. Castellanos started in 13 games last fall with Florida State, splitting time between Tallahassee and competing for Venezuela at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan during the season.
Defensive Player Of The Year
NATALIA KUIKKA (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
While the offensive exploits of her collegiate teammate were lauded, the strong two-way play of Kuikka on the flank was just as special. The FSU defender was outstanding on the counterattack but with her bright football mind and quickness, she still held down her defensive position. The Blue Heat defense allowed only five goals in eight regular season games with the leadership of her consistent and collected play. The Finnish international started in 19 games last fall at Florida State, playing every minute of each match and received NSCAA All-Region and All-American honors for the first time in her career.
2017 All-West Conference Team
F JOELLE GOSSELIN (Calgary Foothills Women’s FC)
F TATIANA ARIZA (Houston Aces)
F HAILEY SKOLMOSKI (Real Salt Lake Women)
MF DEYNA CASTELLANOS (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
MF RACHEL OWENS (Houston Aces)
MF CHLOE CASTANEDA (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
D NATALIA KUIKKA (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
D NATALIE NORRIS (Real Salt Lake Women)
D LAUREN SESSELMANN (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
D MELISSA ROY (Calgary Foothills Women’s FC)
GK EMILY BURNS (Calgary Foothills Women’s FC)
MF NATALIA ARIZA (Houston Aces)
MF SARAH KINZNER (Calgary Foothills Women’s FC)
GK ADRIANA MALDONADO (So Cal Crush FC)
Iron Woman Of The Year (most minutes played)
D MARIE-SANDRA UJENEZA (Calgary Foothills Women’s FC)
About United Women’s Soccer (UWS): UWS is a national women’s soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars. You can follow UWS on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at UWSPress@gmail.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.