SANTA CLARITA RE-SIGNS TOP SCORER... forward Hayley Gonzales has re-signed with the Blue Heat for the Summer 2019 season in United Women's Soccer (UWS). The Nike-sponsored star led the team in scoring last season with five goals and three assists in eight appearances (488 minutes played). Santa Clarita has also welcomed two more newcomers with the additions of midfielders Alea Hyatt and Alexa Rae Orrante. After transferring from the University of North Carolina to the University of Southern California, Hyatt started in 20 of 21 matches for the Trojans last fall as a sophomore and was sixth in team scoring (two goals, five assists). Alea joins her fellow USC teammates and U.S. U-20 stars Savannah DeMelo and Penelope Hocking on the 2019 Blue Heat roster. Orrante was a member of the 2018 NCAA National Champion Florida State University squad. Alexa played in 11 matches last fall for FSU Coach Mark Krikorian after her transfer from CSU-Bakersfield for her senior season. In other team-related news, Orrante's Seminole teammate and Santa Clarita's 2017 UWS West Defender of the Year Natalia Kuikka has signed with Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC of the Swedish Damallsvenskan - the top flight in that country.
GRFC STOCKING UP FOR SUMMER... the Midwest region of the United States is in the midst of a back-cracking wintry spell, but the defending Midwest Conference champions are trying to warm up with a slew of sunny, summer news. Grand Rapids FC Women have announced four more signings this month as defender Clare Carlson, midfielder Riko Sagara and forwards Brittany & Riley Tanner will help the side attain a third-straight conference title. Carlson was part of both the 2017 National Championship and 2018 Midwest Championship teams and played collegiately at Grand Valley State University, winning three NCAA D2 National Championships while twice being named GLIAC Defender of the Year. Sagara returns to GRFC after playing last year with Lansing United. During her time at GVSU this fall, she was named First Team All American and GLIAC Attacking Player of the Year. Brittany Tanner - a redshirt junior forward at Michigan State - was a part of the 2017 UWS National Championship squad and also suited up for Lansing United last summer. Riley - a freshman forward at South Carolina - scored two goals in seventeen appearances for the Gamecocks this past fall.
SUNNY FORECAST FOR DETROIT... while the GRFC Women have been gearing up for this summer with a number of early signings, roster news from the rest of the Midwest Conference teams has been somewhat of an icy proposition. Not so any more as Detroit Sun FC have announced the return of their team captain Dani Evans for the Summer 2019 season. Evans has been a rock in the Detroit midfield the past two seasons, garnering All-UWS Team honors in 2017 and 2018. Last year, she led the national pro-am league in assists (8) and was named the UWS Midwest Offensive Player of the Year. In 2017, the former Oakland University star was a All-UWS Second Team and All-Midwest Conference First Team honoree.
THE "MIGHTY OAK" ADDS TWO BRANCHES... AFC Ann Arbor has compiled a strong staff for their inaugural season in the UWS Midwest and have officially added two more branches to the "Mighty Oak." Head Coach Andy Pritchard has brought on Jim Grewe to the AFCAA Women coaching staff as goalkeeper coach while Boyzzz Khumalo has been named Technical Director for both the men's and women's teams. Grewe's coaching pedigree includes time as the Director of Goalkeeping for the Michigan Jaguars and additionally, served as Michigan ODP Goalkeeping Coach. Jim has also served as the Goalkeeping Coach for the Eastern Michigan University Eagles women's soccer team. Khumalo has been a member of the AFCAA coaching staff since 2016, joining the side from Lansing United. Boyzzz also currently serves as an assistant coach for Madonna University and was a co-founder for the Umhlaba Vision Foundation - a foundation that helps make positive influences for young South Africans through both sport and education. Just last season, the club named an award after him which will be given out every year to an unsung hero within the organization.
LIKE LIGHTNING, FREDA IS FRIGHTENING... 2016 UWS Player of the Year Krystyna Freda has continued her proverbial ballroom blitz on the scoring charts since she last suited up for New Jersey Copa FC in the 2017 season. Currently, she is attacking opponent's defenses for Barcelona F.A. Cyprus in the Cypriot First Division - the top flight in Cyprus - who were crowned champions and made their European debut in the 2018–19 UEFA Women's Champions League. At the end of the calendar year, the 2016 All-UWS selection could raise her hands to the sky as she finished second in the world (you read that right, the "world") in goals scored with 82 tallies for both Barcelona F.A. and Pyrgos Limassol. Freda still holds the UWS record for most goals scored in the regular season (15) which was tied with a wink of an eye by 2018 Southwest Offensive Player of the Year Gisela Arrieta of the league champion Houston Aces last summer.
SUMAILA SIGNS ON AGAIN IN SWEDEN... Ghana Women's National Team player and former LA Galaxy OC Women star Sherifatu Sumaila has found a new home in Sweden, as she recently signed on with Mallbackens IF Sunne of the Elitettan - the Swedish Second Division. Last fall after her stint with the LAGOC Women, Sumaila made seven appearances for Djurgårdens IF Damfotboll of the Swedish Damallsvenskan. The former Ghana youth international joined the senior side for the recent Africa Women Cup of Nations. Hosted in Ghana, it doubled as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) qualifiers for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. Sumaila garnered Woman of the Match honors in the 1-0 win over Algeria but unfortunately, the Black Queens finished third (1-1-1) in their group and did not qualify for this summer's World Cup in France.
MORE HONORS FOR DELLACAMERA... legendary play-by-play man and Connecticut Fusion Managing Director JP Dellacamera has been reeling in the honors lately, and was recently the newest induction to the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association (CJSA) Hall of Fame. This past October, Dellacamera was named the 2018 Colin Jose Media Award at the 2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The Colin Jose Media Award was created to honor the contributions of members of the print and electronic media who specialize in communications with respect to soccer in the United States. JP has called nine consecutive FIFA World Cups on television or radio, and five FIFA Women's World Cups. On top of that, he has helped helm our latest PR initiative called "Be Part Of The Movement." Click HERE for the video in a separate window or you can watch it below.
About United Women's Soccer (UWS): a national women's soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer. 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.
Media can contact the UWS Communications office by e-mail at UWSPress@gmail.com. You can visit the league's official website at UWSSoccer.com. Interested team applicants can contact League Commissioner Joe Ferrara, Jr. by e-mail at Joe@UWSSoccer.com.