Mya Jones (credit Dirk Fontaine)
METUCHEN, NJ - The United Women's Soccer (UWS) regular season coincides with the college game and after a brief break in-between campaigns, players have returned to their respective institutions of higher learning in preparation for their fall competitive schedules. UWS stars have already been receiving preseason honors as well as international call ups. Three players from the two-time West Conference champion Calgary Foothills Women's FC are taking part in this week's Canadian Women's National U-20 Team Camp. New Head Coach Rhian Wilkinson, who is marking her first national camp in charge of the U-20 and U-17 sides, is in the midst of preparations for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in 2020. Foothills WFC midfielders Mya Jones & Caleigh Boeckx and forward Tanya Boychuk were called up by Wilkinson.
Boychuk was named to the 2019 All-UWS Third Team and All-West First Team for Calgary as the team's leading scorer (eight goals). Both her and Jones - a UWS Team of the Week honoree and a dangerous threat off the flank for the West title-holders - play for the University of Memphis of the American Athletic Conference, who were recently selected to finish second in the preseason coaches' poll and tied for the most first-place votes. Queen City United midfielder Claire Abrey - the "Iron Woman" of the UWS West (720, most minutes played) - also suits up for the Memphis Tigers. Boeckx (Rice University) was a key presence for Foothills WFC in 2019, playing eight games and logging 583 minutes: the third-most on the team.
Haley Crawford (credit Dirk Fontaine)
Earlier this month, United Soccer Coaches (USC) and the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) announced the 2019 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch Lists. It is the most prestigious individual award in college soccer and is presented annually to the most outstanding male and female players of the year. Six current and former UWS standouts were named to the Watch List: Deyna Castellanos (Florida State University), Haley Crawford (James Madison University), Taylor Kornieck (University of Colorado), Catarina Macario (Stanford University), Evdokia Popadinova (Florida Gulf Coast University) and Ashley Sanchez (UCLA). Castellanos was the 2017 UWS Player of the Year for the Santa Clarita Blue Heat while Crawford (a three-time All-UWS selection) was the 2018 UWS Offensive Player of the Year for the Lancaster Inferno.
Kornieck and Macario starred for LA Galaxy OC as the West Conference runner-ups went undefeated in three post-season games and captured the 2019 UWS title. The 2018 Hermann Trophy Winner for Stanford went on to be honored as the 2019 Championship MVP for her efforts. Popadinova led Santa Clarita in scoring in 2019 (five points) and was recently named to the Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference Team for FGCU. Sanchez also played for the Blue Heat this past season and was a two-time UWS Team of the Week selection. The UCLA forward was a 2018 First-Team All-American and MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist for the Bruins, who were picked second in 2019 Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll. This year's MAC Hermann Trophy winners will be announced in early January at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Christina Arteaga (credit Carlos Barron)
A pair of FC Austin Elite standouts received preseason recognition as well. Baylor University defender Kayley Ables was named to the 2019 Preseason All-Big 12 Team while Abilene Christian University forward Christina Arteaga nabbed 2019 Preseason All-Southland Conference plaudits. Ables - a 2018 Big 12 All-Freshman Team honoree for the Bears - played all 90 minutes in both of her starts for the second-place side in the UWS Southwest. Arteaga - a two-time first team All-Southland selection for the Wildcats - led FC Austin in scoring (nine points) and was a All-Southwest Conference honoree. Lansing United's Alexis Mitchell was named a player to watch by Summit League coaches, as the University of South Dakota midfielder continued her award-winning summer. The "Iron Woman" for the Hoops (715 minutes played) was the second-leading scorer (nine points) for the first-place side in the Midwest and received All-UWS Second Team & All-Midwest First Team honors.