METUCHEN, NJ - UWS member teams are beginning to announce preliminary roster signings as they warm up operations for another season in the national pro-am league. Among the impressive list are some key players to keep an eye on this season.
Returning Players Come Together for the CT Fusion... The Connecticut Fusion have announced the return of 3 key players from their successful inaugural season in United Women’s Soccer (UWS). Midfielder Stephanie Santos, former University of Hartford standout started all 10 Fusion games last year, plus 1 playoff game. Santos led the team in minutes played last season. Forward Chanel Johnson, a another former University of Hartford player who excelled in her first year with the Fusion. Johnson tallied 5 goals and 2 assists in helping the Fusion to a second place finish in a 9 team eastern conference in 2018. Center back Kylee McIntosh anchored the Fusion back line, starting in 9 regular season games. McIntosh was the Fusion Captain in 2018.
Lancaster Inferno Firing Up for the New Season... The player pipeline from the Shenandoah Valley to the Susquehanna Valley leads to the Lancaster Inferno. Rising senior Haley Crawford (James Madison) returns to the Red Rose City after being named the 2018 UWS Offensive Player of the Year as well as earning 2018 All-UWS First Team, 2018 All-East Conference First Team, and 2018 All-Championship Team. Opting for Pennsylvania’s Ridge and Valley region, returnee Tesa McKibben (Saint Francis) was the 2018 UWS Iron Woman of the year, playing every minute of every game. McKibben earned recognition as 2018 All-UWS First Team, 2018 All-East Conference First Team, and 2018 All-Championship Team. Lancaster local Teresa (Rynier) Rook (James Madison) continues her career close to home. After setting the Colonial Athletic Association record for assists, Rook spent time as a professional with the Ottawa Fury (2011 & 2014), FH Hafnafjördur (Iceland, 2013), and Kvarnsvedens IK (Sweden, 2012). New addition Sam Lofton (James Madison), also spent time in Scandinavia (Breiðablik UBK, Iceland and Sunnanaskdam, Sweden) after a spell in Harrisonburg. Lofton also played with the Portland Thorns and Boston Breakers of NWSL.
No Mutiny in New England, Returning Players On Board... The all-time leading scorer Kate Howarth (Miami) brings her goals and NWSl experience (Boston Breakers) back to the New England Mutiny for 2019. New in New England is another player with Boston Breakers experience, Rachel Wood (North Carolina). US Youth National Team member and New England (Connecticut) native Ellie Jean (Penn State) rejoins the team. Roma McLaughlin (Central Connecticut State) also joins the local side for 2019, when not on duty with the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team. Catalina Perez (Miami/Mississippi State) brings her 1st Team All-SEC, 1st Team All-Southeast, and Third Team All-American honors to New England, along with her experience on the Colombia Women’s National Team.
Syracuse DA Starts Close to Home... Syracuse Development Academy (SDA) need look no further than their own coaching ranks for the 2018 UWS Player of the Year, Brooke Barbuto (Stonybrook). Prior to her time with the Rochester Lancers, Barbuto also played for NiceFutis and GBK Kokkola of Finland, Buffalo Flash and Rochester Ravens of the W-League, and Icelandic team Haukar. SDA youth alums Caroline Kopp (Albany) and Mariah Williams (Albany) look to maintain their youth and collegiate link professionally. Kopp was the America East Defensive Player of the Year in 2017-2018; earned America East All-Conference 1st Team honors in 2016, 2017, and 2018; was listed to the All-Atlantic Region 3rd Team in 2017; earned recognition as a United Soccer Coaches All-East Region 3rd Team member in 2017; was awarded NSCAA Northeast All-Region 3rd Team status in 2015-2016; and had a distinguished first year earning America East All-Tournament Team (2015) and America East All-Rookie Team (2015) honors. Williams was the 2018 America East Striker of the Year, earned a spot on the America East All-Conference 1st Team, and was named to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches All-Atlantic Second Team. Taylor Bennett (Syracuse) trades her blue and orange college uniform for a blue and orange SDA uniform in 2019. The Dryden, NY native was also in the 2016 U18 US Youth National Team pool. A hop, skip, and jump away from Dryden, Deansboro product Darby D’Angelo (Siena) joins SDA after earning All-MAAC First-Team (2018) and All-MAAC Rookie Team (2017) honors. Completing the circle of Syracuse, Fulton, NY sends their best in Callie Beckwith (Campbell) and her Big-South All-Freshman Team (2016), Big South Presidential Honor Roll (2016), and NCCSIA All-State Second Team (2016) honors.