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United Women's Soccer Offseason Update

08/22/2017, 1:45pm EDT
By Admin

Castellanos up for top FIFA Women’s Player honors; player transactions

METUCHEN, NJ - A panel of women’s football experts from around the world - highlighted by legendary names like Mia Hamm, Nadine Kessler, Sissi and Sun Wen - have shortlisted ten players for The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017 award. Alongside international talent on the level of United States Women’s National Team midfielder Carli Lloyd, Germany star Dzsenifer Marozsan and France standout Wendie Renard, 2017 United Women’s Soccer (UWS) Player of the Year and Florida State University sophomore Deyna Castellanos was named to this prestigious list. The Venezuelan phenom took the pitch for the Santa Clarita Blue Heat this summer, starting in nine matches overall while tallying six goals and two assists for the UWS National Finalists.

The winner of this award will be chosen by a process involving four criteria: national team coaches, captains, selected media and the fans. FIFA is conducting a fan vote and that has commenced through their official website via this link. Voting closes on Thursday, September 7th and the three final nominees for the men’s & women’s player and coach categories - as well as for the FIFA Puskas Award, the FIFA Fan Award and the brand new The Best FIFA Goalkeeper Award - will be announced in mid-September. The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony will take place on Monday, October 23rd. You can join the discussion on Twitter about who should win this year’s prizes by using the hashtag #TheBest.

TOP GOAL OF THE YEAR… speaking of top honors, Castellanos was part of another recent online contest where the fans could have their say as the league announced the 2017 UWS Goal of the Year competition. Out of four worthy nominees in the online poll, her game-winning goal against So Cal Crush shared UWS GOY honors with Michaela Kovacs’ game-tying goal in the 2017 National Semifinal for Grand Rapids FC against Long Island. You can view Castellanos’ 35-yard chip to win the SCCFC game at this link while you can view Kovac’s dramatic header to force penalty kicks via this link. The Venezuelan international has continued her scoring streak, as she tallied all three goals in FSU’s season-opening shutout win over UNC-Greensboro this past weekend.

NEW WAVE FOR SURF STAR… another player involved in the UWS Goal of the Year competition has also seen an exciting turn of events in her career over the past week as former New York Surf & Sky Blue FC midfielder Kelly Conheeney was signed as a discovery player by the Houston Dash this past week. Conheeney’s assist on Erica Murphy’s game-winning goal for New York over Long Island was certainly GOY-worthy and you can view it via this link. The 26-year-old Virginia Tech product began the 2017 season with Sky Blue FC, where she scored one goal in 13 games for the team in 2016. The Surf serve as the official amateur affiliate for the SBFC organization and the first-year organization finished in fourth place in the tough UWS East Conference this past season with a 6-2-2 record.

SCORING A WORLDY… the fourth nominee for UWS GOY consideration - forward Joelle Gosselin’s game-tying blast in a 4-1 win over Houston - has been bringing her heroics to the international level. Gosselin and four other Calgary Foothills Women’s FC stars are taking part in the 2017 World University Games in Taipei for Team Canada. The 2017 All-UWS Second Team selection scored seven goals and an assist for Calgary, leading the team in scoring. She has been joined by goalkeeper Sarah Dilling, All-West Conference defender Melissa Roy, midfielder Arielle Roy-Petitclerc and forward Jordan Smith on Team Canada. They have advanced to a quarterfinal match this Thursday against Brazil with thanks to Gosselin, as she scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Ireland this past Sunday.

FROM SERBIA WITH LOVE… another Calgary star has continued to develop her career as CFWFC midfielder Alix Bruch recently signed a professional contract with ZFK Spartak Subotica, the top women’s professional side in Serbia and a participant in the UEFA Women's Champion's League. Spartak ranks 23rd out of 61 teams participating this year in Europe’s most prestigious club competition. The two-time AUS Second Team selection for St. Francis Xavier University played in four matches for Calgary, who finished in second-place in their inaugural season in the UWS West. Bruch had this to say about her 2017 season with CFWFC: “It was an excellent group of players and a high-intensity training environment that kept me fit and challenged me to raise my game.”

SHORELINE TO SWITZERLAND… 2017 UWS East Conference Defensive Player of the Year and New Jersey Copa FC defender Rebecca Raber has joined Copa goalkeeper Kristyn Shea at FF Lugano 1776, who compete in the top tier of women’s soccer in Switzerland. FF Lugano finished sixth last season in the Women's Nationalliga A with a record of 7-6-5, giving them a total of 27 points. Raber started every game for NJCFC this past season and was named to the All-UWS First Team for her stalwart presence on the backline. Shea was the 2016 UWS East Conference Defensive Player of the Year and in addition to playing for Copa in 2017 (3-0-1 record, 13 saves) she also played for the NWSL Sky Blue Reserves over the summer. The full Copa release is available via this link.

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-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.

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