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Grand Rapids FC

Regular Season 2017
Mobile Team ID: 1968825

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United Women's Soccer New Year's Roundup

01/04/2018, 4:00pm EST
By Admin

Villacorta trains with U.S. U-20's; Clem on NWSL Draft prelim list

METUCHEN, NJ - The holiday season has wrapped up but there was plenty of activity in the world of women's soccer as numerous United Women's Soccer (UWS) stars dotted the headlines. The United States Under-20 Women's National Team just completed their first training camp of 2018 and three UWS alums took part; the 2017 UWS West Defensive Player of the Year was honored as top player by her home country; the preliminary list of eligible players for the 2018 Draft was released by the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) and UWS was well represented; and another familiar standout is featured in our New Year's Roundup.

THREE UWS STARS WITH U.S. U-20's... the last training camp of 2017 (and correspondingly the first of 2018) was just completed for the U.S. U-20 Women's National Team at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. Three UWS stars - defender Emily Madril (Santa Clarita), midfielder Viviana Villacorta (Santa Clarita) and midfielder Natalie Winters (Detroit Sun FC) - took part as Head Coach Jitka Klimkova is in the process of choosing the final 20-player roster for the 2018 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship, taking place from January 18-28 in Trinidad & Tobago. Madril played in 10 games this past summer for the 2017 West champion Blue Heat and was named to the UWS Team of the Week (Week 3) for her two-goal performance in a win over So Cal Crush FC. Villacorta started in the 2017 UWS National Semifinal & Final alongside Madril for Santa Clarita, and did the same for UCLA this past month. Winters just completed her sophomore season with the Iowa Hawkeyes, where she was a Third-Team All-Big Ten selection. For more information, click HERE.

KUIKKA NABS TOP FINN HONORS... the 2017 UWS West Defensive Player of the Year and Florida State University defender Natalia Kuikka was awarded her nation's top honors as the 2017 Finland Female Player of the Year. The Finnish Women's National Team finished 4-4-2 in international competition in 2017 (2-0-0 in FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying). While the exploits of her FSU teammate Deyna Castellanos have been much lauded, the strong two-way play of Kuikka on the flank was just as special this past summer for Santa Clarita. The Blue Heat defense allowed only five goals in eight regular season games with her leadership. She started in the 2017 UWS National Semifinal & Final alongside her FSU teammates Castellanos & Madril and UCLA's Villacorta. During her 2017 season with Florida State, she helped the Seminoles reach the Third Round of the NCAA Tournament and earned All-ACC First Team honors. For more information, click HERE.

NWSL RELEASES PRELIMINARY DRAFT LIST... the National Women's Soccer League released the preliminary list of registered players for the 2018 Draft. The draft will take place on January 18 at 10 AM ET at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia, PA. Four UWS standouts were on the initial roster of draft-eligible players, headlined by 2017 UWS Defensive Player Of The Year & University of Wisconsin goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem. Detroit Sun FC finished in 2nd place in the Midwest and Clem started in seven regular season games (5-1-1 record, 3 shutouts, 7 goals allowed). Caitlyn took part in the Sun's playoff run, starting in all three postseason games including the 2017 National Semifinal. Forward Isabella Habuda teamed up with Clem for Detroit, and was tied for second in scoring (3 goals). The Liberty University star was named to the UWS Team of the Week (Week 1) for her 2 goals off the bench in a win at FC Indiana. Hayward has been a part of the Houston Aces the past two seasons and was named to the All-SWAC Second Team this past fall after leading Texas Southern University with eight goals (18 points). Abam starred for the Colorado Pride during the 2016 UWS season. For more information, click HERE.

MORE GOLDEN BALLS FOR BALCER... 2017 was an award-winning year for Grand Rapids FC Women midfielder Bethany Balcer. The UWS Midwest Player of the Year continued her torrid run for the 2017 UWS National Champions to fall competition with No. 1-nationally ranked & NAIA National Champion Spring Arbor University. Balcer completed her trophy shelf by being named the 2017 United Soccer Coaches NAIA Player of the Year late in December. She started all 26 games for SAU and scored 86 points (37g, 12a). In the 2017 NAIA Women's Soccer Championship, the leading scorer in UWS this past summer scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Benedictine in the final. The National Players of the Year will be honored for their accomplishments at the United Soccer Coaches All-America Luncheon on January 20, 2018 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in conjunction with the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Convention. For more information, click HERE.

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.

NCAA & NAIA Championships Roundup

12/20/2017, 6:15pm EST
By Admin

13 UWS standouts took part in penultimate rounds of fall competition

METUCHEN, NJ - The national championship tournaments at all levels of collegiate competition wrapped up earlier this month, and 13 current & former United Women's Soccer (UWS) standouts took part in the penultimate rounds of NCAA and NAIA competition. Leading the way were members of the 2016 UWS National Champion Santa Clarita Blue Heat (West Conference), New York Surf (East Conference) and 2017 UWS National Champion Grand Rapids FC Women (Midwest Conference). At the NCAA Division I level, UWS was well represented as UCLA and Stanford battled it out in a memorable championship match with the latter capturing its second national title in Cardinal history.

DIVISION I: No. 5-nationally ranked UCLA (19-3-3) defeated Duke in the semifinal in a 4-3 penalty kick shootout after the match ended in a 0-0 draw at Orlando City Stadium, before moving on to the 2017 DI Women's Soccer Championship Final. Six current & former Santa Clarita Blue Heat standouts were represented on the UCLA squad this season, including four members of the 2017 national semifinalists: midfielder Chloe Castaneda, forward Julia Hernandez, defender Jacey Pederson and midfielder Viviana Villacorta. Two Blue Heat alums from the 2016 UWS champions also took part - defender Gabrielle Matulich and goalkeeper Siri Ervik. Castaneda (9GP for Santa Clarita in 2017) was named to the All-UWS Second Team selection and Hernandez played in five games this past summer. The latter was also the 2016 UWS Championship MVP, scoring both goals in the national final victory. Pederson played in five games this past summer for the Blue Heat while Villacorta started in the 2017 UWS national semifinal & final. Villacorta did the same for UCLA and Hernandez was a super sub for Head Coach Amanda Cromwell, scoring in the PK shootout in the semifinal and assisting on the second goal in the 3-2 loss in the final to Stanford.

DIVISION II: No. 3-nationally ranked Mercy College (18-4-1) made it all the way to the semifinal of the 2017 DII Women's Soccer Championship before losing to eventual champion Central Missouri. Three members of the New York Surf - defender Rebecca Conway, midfielder Corinna Ferrante and defender Trista Seara - suited up for the Mavericks, who had a historic season as they won a school record 18 games, their first ECC Championship since 2014, their first-ever East Region Championship and advanced to the school's first-ever Final Four. Conway (5GP for Surf in 2017) was named to the DII Women's Soccer Championship All-Tournament Team and Seara (7GP for Surf in 2017) was selected to the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) All-Conference First Team. Both were part of a Mercy defense that allowed two goals in three NCAA Tournament games. Ferrante was third in scoring for the Mavericks (7-2-16) this fall. This past summer, she was named to the UWS Team Of The Week (Week VIII). No. 4-nationally ranked UC-Colorado Springs (17-5-1) also made it to the semifinals and defender Anna Gregg - a 2016 alum of the Colorado Pride - started vs. Carson-Newman.

NAIA: Midfielder Bethany Balcer continued her torrid run for the 2017 UWS National Champion GRFC Women from this past summer to fall competition with No. 1-nationally ranked & NAIA National Champion Spring Arbor University (24-1-1), starting all 26 games and scoring 86 points (37g, 12a). In the 2017 NAIA Women's Soccer Championship, the 2017 UWS Midwest Player of the Year scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Benedictine in the final and had an assist in the semifinal. Fort Wayne United Gryphons midfielder/forward Malorie Henderlong also started in both games of the NAIA Championship for SAU, assisting on the game-winning goal over No. 3-nationally ranked University of Northwestern Ohio (20-3-1) in the semifinal. Detroit Sun FC midfielder/forward Evdokia Popadinova came off the bench for UNO in that match, as she finished up her fall season with 53 points (19g, 15a). The Bulgarian star played in 10 games for Detroit this past summer, and was named to the 2017 All-UWS Championship Team for her efforts for the national semifinalists.

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.

Nine UWS Stars Named All-American

12/14/2017, 6:30pm EST
By Admin

Corboz, Castellanos & Wenger top the United Soccer Coaches honor roll

METUCHEN, NJ - Nine current and former United Women's Soccer (UWS) standouts were honored as All-Americans by United Soccer Coaches for their efforts during their collegiate campaigns this past fall. This year's All-Americans, along with their families and coaches, will be formally acknowledged for their accomplishments at the United Soccer Coaches All-America Luncheon on January 20, 2018 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in conjunction with the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Convention in downtown Philadelphia.

DIVISION I: Georgetown University midfielder Rachel Corboz (New York Surf) was named to the First Team and Hoyas compatriot & defender Elizabeth Wenger (Lancaster Inferno) was named to the Second Team alongside Florida State University forward Deyna Castellanos (Santa Clarita Blue Heat) - the reigning UWS Player of the Year. Corboz is a three-time All-American and was also named the Big East Midfielder of the Year. Wenger was a First Team All-Midwest Region honoree after being named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Castellanos was also honored this fall as one of three finalists for the FIFA Best Women's Player of the Year, as well as one of the three finalists for the FIFA Puskas Award. West Virginia University forward Michaela Abam starred for the Colorado Pride in 2016.

DIVISION II: Nova Southeastern University defender Bailey Corbin (Lancaster Inferno) and Adelphi University forward Jeanine Nunez (New Jersey Copa FC) were named Third Team All-American by United Soccer Coaches. Corbin's honor follows a big year in which she helped propel the Sharks to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, a Sunshine State Conference regular season title, and was named the SSC Defensive Player of the Year. Nunez earned her first All-American honor and ensured Adelphi representation on the All-America Team for the fourth year in a row, after the Panthers did not have a selection since 2004. The Copa star also landed on the All-East Region First Team.

NAIA: Spring Arbor University midfielder Bethany Balcer (Grand Rapids FC) was selected as the NAIA National Player of the Year for the second time in her career and was joined on the First Team by University of Northwestern Ohio forward Evdokia Popadinova (Detroit Sun). The defending UWS champion GRFC Women had a second player honored as Martin Methodist College midfielder Riko Sagara (Grand Rapids FC) made the Second Team. Balcer was selected to the First Team for the third consecutive season and scored two goals in the NAIA Championship to help SAU secure its second title in three seasons. Popadinova was the WHAC Offensive Player of the Year and a Third Team All-American in 2016. This was Sagara's second straight All-American honor as well and she tallied over 30 assists this past fall.

2017 NCAA Division I Women's All-America Team

First Team
MF - Rachel Corboz - Georgetown University (NEW YORK SURF)

Second Team
D - Elizabeth Wenger - Georgetown University (LANCASTER INFERNO)
F - Michaela Abam - West Virginia University (COLORADO PRIDE)
F - Deyna Castellanos - Florida State University (SANTA CLARITA BLUE HEAT)

2017 NCAA Division II Women's All-America Team

Third Team
D - Bailey Corbin - Nova Southeastern University (LANCASTER INFERNO)
F - Jeanine Nunez - Adelphi University (NEW JERSEY COPA FC)

2017 NAIA Women's All-America Team

First Team
MF - Bethany Balcer - Spring Arbor University (GRAND RAPIDS FC)
F - Evdokia Popadinova - University of Northwestern Ohio (DETROIT SUN)

Second Team
MF - Riko Sagara - Martin Methodist College (GRAND RAPIDS 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.

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