EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - After yesterday’s announcement of the 2016 United Women’s Soccer (UWS) All-West Conference Team, its now turn to recognize the East Conference of this national pro-am league. After suffering a defeat in their first game of the season, New Jersey Copa F.C. (8-1-1) went undefeated and captured the conference crown with two weeks remaining on the East slate. The 2016 UWS All-East Conference Team has a definite Copa flavor to it, but is also well-complemented by the other five teams to form a well-balanced side.
NJCFC Head Coach Roberto Aguas & Associate Head Coach J.R. Balzarini have been named the UWS East Coaches of the Year, with their high-scoring forward Krystyna Freda nabbing UWS East Player of the Year honors. The Long Island Rough Riders (4-3-3) had the stingiest defense in the conference this season, and their veteran defender Kelly Eagan is the UWS East Defensive Player of the Year.
New Jersey evolved from serving as the affiliate for Sky Blue F.C. of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in 2015 to becoming their very own success story in 2016, and Copa Founder Roberto Aguas was at the head of their initiative. Alongside his trusted sidekick in Associate Head Coach J.R. Balzarini, the pair were able to sign a core of players from their club, and added experience and flair in the form of newcomers like Freda to compliment the team. After a 3-0 loss to Long Island to start the season, NJCFC steadily improved as the season went along, culminating in a East title in their first year at the pro-am level.
“A coaching staff of the year selection for me is a team effort,” said Aguas. “From our associate head coaches to our general manager and most importantly our players, we have dedicated a tremendous effort to making our first year a success. We are honored to be selected amongst an outstanding group of coaching peers and look forward to continuing to represent the East in the UWS National Championship match this weekend.”
After being held scoreless in her first game in Copa colors, Krystyna Freda would go on an impressive run of form, netting a goal in eight of the last nine games to finish the season. Her 15 goals and three assists (33 points) won the UWS scoring race by a tidy margin. Freda’s success should not be a surprise, as last year for Merilappi United in the Finnish Naisten-Liiga, she scored 10 times in 14 games and had three Game MVP selections to her credit. The former Winthrop University star has been a goal machine for some time now, as she notched 63 goals in her four-year career for the Big South Conference side.
“It is such an honor to receive this award,” said Freda. “This season, our team and coaches have worked so hard to get to the point we are at now. Without them there to support me, I would have never been able to accomplish what I did.”
Long Island had the best defense in the UWS East this season (10 goals allowed in 10 games), with thanks going to their top defender Kelly Eagan and her veteran leadership. The Rough Riders allowed only seven goals in the eight games Kelly started and she was in the top five in minutes played for her team. Receiving end-of-season accolades is nothing new to Eagan, as she was a four-year All-Big East and NSCAA All-Region selection at Villanova University. Remarkably, the St. James, NY-native started every single game in her four-year career for the Wildcats, which ended after the 2009 campaign.
“I am grateful to receive this honor,” said Eagan. “We were a solid unit defensively this season and the credit should be shared with all my teammates.”
2016 UWS All-East Conference First Team
F KRYSTYNA FREDA - New Jersey Copa F.C.
F KATE HOWARTH - New England Mutiny
F JEANINE NUNEZ - New Jersey Copa F.C.
MF STEPHANIE SANTOS - New England Mutiny
MF JACKIE BRUNO - New Jersey Copa F.C.
MF ALANA O’NEILL - TSF Academy Valkyries
D CAROL SANCHEZ - Lancaster Inferno
D KELLY EAGAN - Long Island Rough Riders
D SUE ALBER - Long Island Rough Riders
D ALLYSON SWABY - New England Mutiny
GK KRISTYN SHEA - New Jersey Copa F.C.
2016 UWS All-East Conference Honorable Mention
F CHRISTINA BELLERO - Long Island Rough Riders
MF JEN ANDRESEN - TSF Academy Valkyries
MF TRISHA CLARK - Lancaster Inferno
D NICOLE BATES - New Jersey Copa F.C.
D JENNIFER CAFFERKY - New England Mutiny
GK SAMANTHA DEPKEN - New York Magic
Coaches Of The Year
ROBERTO AGUAS - New Jersey Copa F.C.
J.R. BALZARINI - New Jersey Copa F.C.
Player Of The Year
KRYSTYNA FREDA - New Jersey Copa F.C.
Defensive Player Of The Year
KELLY EAGAN - Long Island Rough Riders
“Iron Woman” Of The Year (Most Minutes Played For Her Team)
New Jersey Copa F.C. - REBECCA RABER
New England Mutiny - CAILYNN HARDING
Long Island Rough Riders - SUE ALBER
Lancaster Inferno - CAROL SANCHEZ
TSF Academy Valkyries - JEN MIHOK
New York Magic - KRISTINA HRISTIC
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.