Kelly O'Brien (credit Dirk Fontaine)
METUCHEN, NJ - United Women's Soccer (UWS) alumnae continue to take the next step up the competitive ladder into the professional ranks. Lancaster Inferno's two-time UWS East Defensive Player of the Year Kelly O'Brien has signed with Diósgyőri VTK of the Hungarian Női Nemzeti Bajnokság. The Női NB I is the top flight of women's soccer in that country and is organized by the Hungarian Football Federation. It features eight teams and the champion qualifies for a spot in the UEFA Women's Champions League. O'Brien is the third former Lancaster goalkeeper (alongside Emily Dolan and Emily Armstrong) to sign professionally in as many years.
Diósgyőri VTK are currently in third place (2-0-0) in the Női NB I and blitzed Győri ETO by a 6-1 score in their last match this past Saturday. O'Brien may be in uniform for her new team's next match against Ferencváros (2-0-1) this Sunday. The former Lafayette College star was rock solid for the Inferno this past season as she allowed only seven goals in nine matches (five shutouts) during the regular season. In the playoffs, the All-UWS selection once again pushed her game to another level with two wins on the road including a heroic 10-save performance in the East Final victory over the New England Mutiny.
The El Paso Surf of the UWS Southwest Conference have had their first player make the jump to the professional ranks. Defender Salma Buhaya has signed with the FC Juárez Bravos of Liga BBVA MX Femenil, the top flight of women's soccer in Mexico. FC Juárez Femenil is based in Ciudad Juárez and was founded for the 2019–20 season. FC Juárez bought Lobos BUAP and after making the purchase had to assume all of the team's responsibilities, including the obligation to have a women's team. The Bravos (0-6-3) are currently one spot above the bottom club in Liga MX Femenil - Necaxa (0-6-2) - whom they battled out to a 0-0 draw in their last match this past Sunday.
Buhaya made nine appearances (745 minutes played) over the past two seasons for the Surf. The El Paso-native is the third UWS star to sign with a Liga MX Femenil club - who are now competing in the Apertura (July-December) segment of their schedule - in the past few months. Former Santa Clarita Blue Heat defender and three-time All-UWS selection Yadira Toraya joined Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente Femenil and are currently in sixth place with a 4-2-2 record. Janelly Farias moved on from UWS champion LA Galaxy OC to Las Chivas de Guadalajara (4-1-3) who are just behind the Xolos in seventh place.