EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The 2016 regular season has concluded in United Women’s Soccer and its the time of the year to announce the end-of-season awards for each conference. The first conference to finish their slate of games was the West, and the league office has officially announced the 2016 UWS All-West Team. The Santa Clarita Blue Heat (4-1-3) and Real Salt Lake Women (4-2-2) lead the way, with both teams highlighting the All-West First Team and individual honors as well.
Santa Clarita midfielder Chloe Castaneda has been named the UWS West Player of the Year, while RSL’s Mark Davis & Rebecca Ritchie are the UWS West Coach of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.
The Blue Heat had four out of the top five scorers in the West Conference this year, and with thanks going to Castaneda for her overall play in the midfield. Skillful over the ball as well as hard in the tackle, the UCLA sophomore opened up the space for the Santa Clarita attack which was the best in the conference (28 goals scored) while she also led the team in assists (4). Chloe will play a huge role for the West champions when they host the East champion New Jersey Copa F.C. this Saturday at The Master’s College.
“I’m super grateful for the opportunity I've had to play for the Blue Heat this summer,” said Castaneda. “This season wouldn't have been possible without such an amazing team and coaching staff! I can't wait to play for the Championship on Saturday!”
The Real Salt Lake Women were one of (if not) the best showcase as far as teamwork is concerned in all of UWS this season, and with credit going to Head Coach Mark Davis. His brilliant use of team depth and in-game tactical adjustments were keystones to RSL’s success. Even though they missed out on winning the West title by mere minutes, his collaborative approach to coaching was respected by the conference coaches as he received the most votes.
“I am super excited to be rewarded in a league with such great coaches,” said Davis. “It is such an honor. My players at RSL played extremely hard every week, every session and it was a real honor to coach them this year.”
Rebecca Ritchie is one of the veteran team leaders that RSL Head Coach Mark Davis relied on this year. Ritchie has been around the block in women’s soccer: a Big Sky Conference Defensive MVP for Weber State; a national champion for the Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves in the WPSL; and now, the 2016 UWS West Defensive Player of the Year for the Real Women. She led the top defense in the West and was named Defensive Player of the Week on June 14th.
“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of our entire back line,” said Ritchie. “We really tried to work together as a defensive unit the entire season. I am proud to be part of such a great team and am already looking forward to next season!”
2016 UWS All-West Conference First Team
F KASANDRA MASSEY - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
F KAITLYN JOHNSON - Colorado Pride
MF TATIANA ARIZA - Houston Aces
MF MICHELE MURPHY VASCONCELOS - Real Salt Lake Women
MF CHLOE CASTANEDA - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
MF KIRA SHARP - Real Salt Lake Women
D KELSEY GUDGEON - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
D NATALIE NORRIS - Real Salt Lake Women
D LEXI LONG - Colorado Pride
D YADIRA TORAYA - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
GK REBECCA RITCHIE - Real Salt Lake Women
2016 UWS All-West Conference Honorable Mention
F JESS VANDERVEUR - Real Salt Lake Women
MF ISABELLA ECHEVERRI RESTREPO - Houston Aces
MF MARIEL GUTIERREZ - Colorado Pride
D ELLE SWEENEY - Colorado Storm
D ALEXANDRA HUYNH - Colorado Storm
GK COURTNEY SEELHORST - Houston Aces
Coach Of The Year
MARK DAVIS - Real Salt Lake Women
Player Of The Year
CHLOE CASTANEDA - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
Defensive Player Of The Year
REBECCA RITCHIE - Real Salt Lake Women
“Iron Woman” Of The Year (Most Minutes Played For Her Team)
Santa Clarita Blue Heat - KELSEY GUDGEON
Real Salt Lake Women - NATALIE NORRIS / BIZZY PHILIPS / KATIE RIGBY
Houston Aces - SHAUNA PEARE
Colorado Pride - LEXI LONG
Colorado Storm - ELLE SWEENEY
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.
UWS is managed by EDP, a leading soccer management company that runs a number of leagues and tournaments. In addition to UWS, EDP operates youth leagues that includes an NPL league, the EDP Super Club program, the EDP Premier League and the EDP Championship League. EDP also runs EDP Futures programs for U-7’s to U-12’s and it conducts more than 20 youth tournaments, including tournaments within its EDP Cup Series and EDP Showcase Series.
Media can contact UWS Director of Communications Jorma Kansanen by e-mail at Press@UWSSoccer.com. You can visit the league’s official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.