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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-Midwest Conference Awards

07/27/2017, 9:15pm EDT
By Admin

GRFC’s Balcer & Robison top player & coach; Clem grabs defensive honor

METUCHEN, NJ - United Women’s Soccer (UWS) expanded into the Midwest for the Summer 2017 season and the seven inaugural teams who took the pitch made it a memorable season. The top four teams competed in the conference playoffs with Grands Rapids FC Women winning the regular season and post-season titles. GRFC went on to win the 2017 UWS title and were awarded top coach & player honors. An impressive netminder and future pro prospect grabbed top defensive player accolades for Detroit, who finished in second place in the Midwest race. With seven teams competing this past season, the league office was able to compile First & Second Teams for the first-year conference.

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. Lewis also works as the Director of Coaching for Midwest United FC and won a 2016 U-16 Girls National Championship last summer.

Player Of The Year
BETHANY BALCER (Grand Rapids FC Women)

Grand Rapids FC Women closed out the regular season with five consecutive wins, outscoring its opponents by a 22-2 margin. The biggest factor during that span was the outstanding play of Balcer, who was named to the UWS Team of the Week on three straight occasions. Bethany made eight appearances scoring 14 goals & three assists (31 points) to finish as the 2017 UWS Golden Boot winner. The Hudsonville, MI native is having a record-breaking career at Spring Arbor University (NAIA). The two-time Crossroads League Player of the Year - the first-ever repeat winner of the award - racked up 74 points (31 goals, 12 assists) for the Cougars during her dominant 2016 campaign, which boosted her career total to 147 points (61 goals, 25 assists).

Defensive Player Of The Year
CAITLYN CLEM (Detroit Sun FC)

Detroit Sun FC finished in second place in the Midwest this past season and with thanks to the stellar play of Clem in goal. The University of Wisconsin shot-stopper started in seven games (5-1-1 record, three shutouts, 34 saves) and allowed only seven goals for Detroit - with three of those coming in a loss to Midwest champions Grand Rapids FC. Caitlyn started out her Sun career in fine form as she made five saves in a shutout win over FC Indiana, which got her selected to the UWS Team of the Week. Clem is a two-time All-Big Ten Conference honoree as a rising junior at Wisconsin (42 starts) and helped lead the Badgers to their first Big Ten Conference championship in 20 years in 2015.

2017 All-Midwest Conference First Team

F MADISON SCHUPBACH (Detroit Sun FC)
F BETHANY BALCER (Grand Rapids FC Women)
F TORI SINGSTOCK (Michigan Legends FC)
MF/F YO TACHIBANA (FC Indiana)
MF DANI EVANS (Detroit Sun FC)
MF RYLEY BUGAY (FC Indiana)
MF ANNIE STEINLAGE (Grand Rapids FC Women)
D RACHEL WASHBURN (Michigan Legends FC)
D MICHAELA KOVACS (Grand Rapids FC Women)
D CLARE CARLSON (Grand Rapids FC Women)
GK CAITLYN CLEM (Detroit Sun FC)

2017 All-Midwest Conference Second Team

F MARISSA SWINDELL (Toledo Villa FC)
F MARIE ASHLEY JOHNSON (FC Indiana)
F SKYLAR FLEAK (Toledo Villa FC)
MF/F BRADY RILEY (Indy Premier SC)
MF RIKO SAGARA (Grand Rapids FC Women)
MF HANNAH TILLETT (Fort Wayne United Gryphons)
D AVERY HAY (Michigan Legends FC)
D ALEXA SIEGAL (Fort Wayne United Gryphons)
D KIRSTEN CATLOTH (Toledo Villa FC)
D MYKAYLA BROWN (Indy Premier SC)
GK TARAH HOBBS (FC Indiana)

Iron Women Of The Year (most minutes played)

F MARISSA SWINDELL (Toledo Villa FC)
MF/F BRADY RILEY (Indy Premier SC)
MF HIKARU NAKAMURA (FC Indiana)
D KELLEY JOHNSON (FC Indiana)

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.

Santa Clarita Blue Heat 3, Detroit Sun FC 0

07/21/2017, 7:15pm EDT
By Admin

Three different scorers lead Santa Clarita to 2017 UWS Final

GRANDVILLE, MI - The Santa Clarita Blue Heat (9-0) took the final step towards defending their 2016 United Women’s Soccer (UWS) title on Friday afternoon at Grandville High School, defeating Detroit Sun FC (7-3-3) by a 3-0 score in the first UWS National Semifinal. Santa Clarita now moves on to Saturday night’s 2017 UWS National Championship match and will take on the winner of tonight’s second National Semifinal between the Grand Rapids FC Women (10-1-1) and the Long Island Rough Riders (8-2-1). The Blue Heat were led by three different scorers as midfielder Deyna Castellanos tallied the eventual game-winner in first half stoppage time to send her side to the National Final.

“It was truly an amazing effort from our team today,” said Santa Clarita Owner and Technical Director Carlos Marroquin. “Detroit were a tough team but our patience showed through. We got great performances from many players, and from all over the field. We’re honored to defend our 2016 national title and will bring our best on Saturday night.”

Even though the Blue Heat were victorious in the end, it was the Sun offense that shone early as they had an early scoring chance. But Santa Clarita would methodically put their stamp on the match, and Detroit goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem proved to be the difference on defense and offense for her team. Blue Heat forward Carolina Venegas was thwarted by Clem in the 12th minute and than the University of Wisconsin shot-stopper punched away a free kick four minutes later. In the 21st minute, Clem tipped a 35-yard blast over the cross bar from defender Natalie Kuikka. But in the 40th minute, Blue Heat keeper Ryann Torrero had to fly out of goal to punch away a dangerous, long-range free kick from Clem herself.

As the first half winded down, Santa Clarita’s attack became more & more ruthless and in injury time, they recycled a defensive clearance back towards the Sun penalty area and Venegas gathered the ball and fed Castellanos in on goal. The Florida State star finished clinically with her left foot inside the near post for the 1-0 score. Detroit opened up the second half with a offensive flurry but the West Conference champions steadily got their foothold back on the tempo of the match. In the 63rd minute, Castellanos fired in a free kick from the right flank that defender Lauren Sesselmann got her head on. Forward Kodi Lavrusky finished the ball off for the 2-0 lead.

Five minutes later, the Blue Heat broke the Sun offside trap and midfielder Chloe Castaneda and Castellanos were sent in on a 2v1 opportunity against Clem. Castaneda juked the beleaguered keeper and passed the ball into the open net for the final 3-0 score. Santa Clarita finished out the match and now look to be in good shape to defend their 2016 UWS title on Saturday night at Grandville High School.

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.