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Long Island Rough Riders

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2017 All-United Women's Soccer Awards

08/02/2017, 3:00pm EDT
By Admin

Castellanos & Clem honored with top player plaudits; Robinson named top coach

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.

2017 All-East Conference Awards

07/27/2017, 9:30pm EDT
By Admin

LI awarded top coach & player honors; Copa’s Raber top defender

METUCHEN, NJ - Not only did United Women’s Soccer (UWS) expand into the Midwest this past season, but the East Conference also grew from six to eight teams for the 2017 campaign. And like the Midwest, said expansion allowed the league office to compile First & Second All-Conference Teams for end-of-season honors. New Jersey were the regular season champions in the conference but Long Island would one-up them in the East Final for the automatic berth into the UWS National Championship. Both sides were recognized when it came to the top individual honors awarded this season.

Coach Of The Year
ADAM WHITEHEAD (Long Island Rough Riders)

Four years after the conclusion of his stellar playing career for the Binghamton University Bearcats, Whitehead was named the new Head Coach of the Long Island Rough Riders prior to the 2017 season. Long Island had a solid 2016 season in the UWS East but under Whitehead’s tutelage, the team won their first game of the 2017 campaign and the long-time women’s soccer organization went on to take the next step up the pro-am ladder. A second-place finish during the regular season gave Whitehead’s team a shot at breaking New Jersey’s unbeaten streak at home in the 2017 East Conference Final. Long Island broke down a stingy Copa defense in a 5-1 win that sent them to the UWS National Championship.

Player Of The Year
KIMBERLY MARRA (Long Island Rough Riders)

Marra was the two-way difference make for the Long Island Rough Riders this past season, playing in the central midfield as both a playmaker and a destroyer while also spending time in the defense. The former Iona Gael (started in 54 of 68 career games) captained the Rough Riders in most of her 10 appearances in 2017 and finished fourth in team scoring (three goals, assist). Lindsay was second in minutes played (810) and turned out to be Head Coach Adam Whitehead’s most consistent player. She was named to the UWS Team of the Week on three occasions - the last time in Week X when Marra scored three goals in two wins to end the season and leap-frog New England into second place and into the postseason.

Defensive Player Of The Year
REBECCA RABER (New Jersey Copa FC)

Raber returned for her second season with New Jersey Copa FC and led the East’s best defense to a stingy seven goals allowed in 10 conference games. New Jersey won their second straight regular season title and Rebecca once again led the team in minutes played - 900 in 2017 (1756 in two seasons) - while also adding two assists. Her 900 minutes played this past campaign was tied with nine other players for tops in all of UWS. Raber was named to the UWS Team of the Week on two occasions, the last time in Week VII when NJCFC notched two wins and outs-cored the opposition by a 6-1 margin. This past offseason, Raber scored the game-winning goal for Durham University in England to win the National Championship.

2017 All-East Conference First Team

F FURTUNA VELAJ (New York Surf)
F CARISSIMA CUTRONA (Western New York Flash)
F HALEY CRAWFORD (Lancaster Inferno)
MF BRENNA BROWN (New England Mutiny)
MF JACKIE BRUNO (New Jersey Copa FC)
MF KIMBERLY MARRA (Long Island Rough Riders)
D JENNIFER CAFFERKY (New England Mutiny)
D REBECCA RABER (New Jersey Copa FC)
D TAYLOR GROTH (Long Island Rough Riders)
D BROOKE SALMON (New York Surf)
GK CAITIE BRODERICK (Rochester Lady Lancers)

2017 All-East Conference Second Team

F JEANINE NUNEZ (New Jersey Copa FC)
F KATE HOWARTH (New England Mutiny)
F ERICA MURPHY (New York Surf)
F ERICA MODINA (Long Island Rough Riders)
MF TESA MCKIBBEN (Lancaster Inferno)
MF ALEXA SCHNEIDER (Long Island Rough Riders)
D SYDNEY CUMMINGS (New Jersey Copa FC)
D TRISHA CLARK (Lancaster Inferno)
D DANIELLE BRAUN (Western New York Flash)
D JENNY BITZER (New Jersey Copa FC)
GK SIERRA BONHAM (New York Magic)

Iron Women Of The Year (most minutes played)

D TRISHA CLARK (Lancaster Inferno)
D REBECCA RABER (New Jersey Copa FC)
D DANIELLE BRAUN (Western New York Flash)
D BROOKE SALMON (New York Surf)
D DYLAN PATTERSON (Rochester Lady Lancers)

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.

GRFC Women 2 (3), Long Island Rough Riders 2 (2)

07/21/2017, 11:30pm EDT
By Admin

Kovacs & Ott come through once again for GRFC

GRANDVILLE, MI - For the second consecutive knockout match, the duo of defender Michaela Kovacs and goalkeeper Reilley Ott came up big for the Grand Rapids FC Women, prolonging the team’s postseason run. Kovacs netted the game-tying goal in the 119th minute of play and Ott made the final save in the penalty-kick shootout to send the GRFC Women (11-1-1) past the Long Island Rough Riders (8-3-1) and into the United Women’s Soccer (UWS) National Championship match. The game was tied 2-2 after overtime and the hosts emerged victorious by a 3-2 margin in the PK shootout. Grand Rapids will take on the Santa Clarita Blue Heat (9-0) on Saturday night at Grandville High School (7:30 PM EDT kickoff) in the 2017 UWS Final.

“What a night,” said GRFC Head Coach Lewis Robinson. “What a game. What a finish. What an event to play like this. Its a game we’re never going to forget and we’ve enjoyed it from start to finish. Everyone involved in it, the fans. It was an amazing night.”

The drama started early in Friday’s second National Semifinal when Long Island forward Morgan Santoro sent in forward Erica Modina in on goal and she chipped her shot over Ott for the 1-0 lead in the ninth minute. Seven minutes later, Grand Rapids tied the score when forward Brittany Balcer was fouled from behind in the penalty area and converted her penalty kick. The hosts had a pair of chances from midfielder Marti Corby and Balcer to end the first half but could not take advantage. As the second half progressed, it looked like it could be a long night as both the Rough Riders and GRFC missed a pair of glittering opportunities in the 54th and 59th minutes - by midfielder Kimberly Marra and forward Maddie Pogarch - respectively.

Long Island keeper Melissa Guglielmo stood strong in net for her side as well, stopping Balcer on a 1v1 opportunity in the 63rd minute. In the 79th minute, Corby and Balcer had a double-chance but Guglielmo made a save on the former and than forced the latter to shoot wide. In the 80th minute, Santoro’s goal was ruled offside and a last-second chance in regulation from forward Madison Vasquez flew just wide for the East Conference champions. Guglielmo made a pair of stops in the first overtime period while it was all Rough Riders to start the second overtime. Substitute Francesca Venezia put Long Island up by 2-1 in the 97th minute, finishing off a rebound after an Ott save.

As time ticked off the clock, defender Clare Carlson broke deep down the right flank and sent in a cross that Kovacs met with a diving header at the far post to tie the score at 2-2. The team captain scored the game-winning goal in last Sunday’s 1-0 Midwest Conference Final win over Detroit. After overtime, the match would go on to a penalty kick shootout to determine the winner. Both sides started out 2-2 before the Rough Riders started to falter. Venezia put her shot just wide to her left on Long Island’s third attempt, Taylor Groth struck her shot off the crossbar and after GRFC midfielder Anna Stinson converted to make it 3-2, Ott made a save on Christina Dutcher’s spot kick to send the hosts to the 2017 UWS National Final.

“First of all, it was probably the most exciting game of our season by far and that’s easy to say,” said Long Island Head Coach Adam Whitehead. “When I first came on board, I didn’t think I saw us coming this far but we flicked a switch and everything started to fall into place. Its been an amazing experience, a great journey and the team shouldn’t be disappointed in what they achieved.”

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.