METUCHEN, NJ - The Summer 2017 season in United Women’s Soccer (UWS) was one of measured & sustained growth, as the Midwest Conference was added and the league’s championship tournament was expanded to a four-team format. The future looks bright as work on the 2018 campaign has already begun. Yet, there is still news to announce as the national pro-am league puts a bow on the 2017 season. The All-UWS awards have been announced with individual honors going to representatives from three different organizations, all who qualified for the league’s showcase event - the UWS National Championship.
UWS Coach Of The Year
LEWIS ROBINSON (Grand Rapids FC Women)
With a successful men’s team already in place, the Grand Rapids FC organization began a women’s team and by the end of the 2017 season, the “Ladies In Blue” grabbed the spotlight by capturing not only the Midwest crown but the UWS National Championship. Robinson took charge of the GRFC Women with a history of success in the West Michigan soccer community. For the past six years, Robinson served as head coach for the Grandville H.S. girls team, winning six district championships, three conference championships and a regional title while finishing as 2013 State Runners-Up.
“It is an honor and a privilege to receive any national recognition for our team’s success this year,” said Robinson. “We owe all of our thanks to the club and supporters for supporting our team and giving us the backing to train and compete at the highest level. The support for the women's game was amazing this year and a great reflection of the players talent and hard work.”
UWS 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.
“It’s such an honor to be named UWS Player of the Year, I am speechless,” said Castellanos. “I want to give thanks to Santa Clarita Blue Heat Owner Carlos Marroquin for the platform to showcase women’s soccer in the USA. Thanks to United Women’s Soccer for putting on a high level of competition during the summer. The quality of the league is phenomenal. I also could not have done it without my teammates. Carlos put together a great group of players. They made this past season special. I've made lifelong friends this summer.”
UWS Defensive Player Of The Year
CAITLYN CLEM (Detroit Sun FC)
Detroit Sun FC finished in second place in the Midwest with thanks to Clem. The University of Wisconsin shot-stopper started in seven games (5-1-1 record, three shutouts, 34 saves) and only allowed seven goals - three came in a loss to Midwest champion Grand Rapids FC. Caitlyn started her Sun career in fine form as she made five saves in a shutout over FC Indiana and was selected to the UWS Team of the Week. Clem is a two-time All-Big Ten Conference honoree as a rising junior (42 starts) and helped lead Wisconsin to their first Big Ten Conference championship in 20 years in 2015.
“I'm incredibly humbled to receive this award out of all the awesome players in this league,” said Clem. “I believe this is not just a reflection of me, it's a reflection of the Detroit Sun and our backline. So, I would like to thank my team as well. Also, I'd like to give a shout out to UWS!”
2017 All-United Women’s Soccer First Team
F BETHANY BALCER (Grand Rapids FC Women)
F CARISSIMA CUTRONA (Western New York Flash)
MF JACKIE BRUNO (New Jersey Copa FC)
MF DEYNA CASTELLANOS (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
MF ANNIE STEINLAGE (Grand Rapids FC Women)
MF KIMBERLY MARRA (Long Island Rough Riders)
D NATALIA KUIKKA (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
D REBECCA RABER (New Jersey Copa FC)
D LAUREN SESSELMANN (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
D MICHAELA KOVACS (Grand Rapids FC Women)
GK CAITLYN CLEM (Detroit Sun FC)
2017 All-United Women’s Soccer Second Team
F MADISON SCHUPBACH (Detroit Sun FC)
F JOELLE GOSSELIN (Calgary Foothills Women’s FC)
F HALEY CRAWFORD (Lancaster Inferno)
MF BRENNA BROWN (New England Mutiny)
MF CHLOE CASTANEDA (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
MF DANI EVANS (Detroit Sun FC)
D TAYLOR GROTH (Long Island Rough Riders)
D NATALIE NORRIS (Real Salt Lake Women)
D JENNIFER CAFFERKY (New England Mutiny)
D BROOKE SALMON (New York Surf)
GK EMILY BURNS (Calgary Foothills Women’s FC)
2017 All-United Women’s Soccer Honorable Mention
F TATIANA ARIZA (Houston Aces)
F TORI SINGSTOCK (Michigan Legends FC)
F/MF FURTUNA VELAJ (New York Surf)
MF/F YO TACHIBANA (FC Indiana)
D CLARE CARLSON (Grand Rapids FC Women)
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.
Tag(s): News Lancaster Inferno LI Rough Riders New England Mutiny New Jersey Copa FC Real Salt Lake Santa Clarita Blue Heat Calgary Foothills Detroit Sun Grand Rapids FC Michigan Legends Western NY Flash New York Surf