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Houston Aces

Regular Season 2016
Mobile Team ID: 1391694

Recent Houston Aces News

Q&A with Colombia's Isabella Echeverri

08/18/2016, 12:45pm EDT
By Admin

The Colombian international & Houston Aces star is back from the Rio Olympics

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - It is certainly a hectic time for women’s soccer players, coaches and fans alike as the Olympic tournament finishes up on Friday with the medal games, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) re-starts after its Olympic hiatus while the fall campaign in the collegiate ranks kicks off as well. Colombian international and Houston Aces star Isabella Echeverri is right in the middle of it all. Fresh off her continental summer road trip, Echeverri will suit up once again for the University of Toledo this fall as a junior midfielder.

The past few months have been a whirlwind for the two-time All-Mid-American Conference selection, going from Toledo to Houston to Rio de Janeiro back to Toledo. In that time, Isabella was named to the 2016 United Women’s Soccer (UWS) All-West Conference Team for her efforts with the Aces, took to the Arena Amazonia pitch in Manaus in the Olympics against the U.S. Women’s National Team and now is back with the Rockets, who start their 2016 season on Friday afternoon with a road match vs. Quinnipiac University.

The Medellin, Colombia-native was kind enough to take some of her valuable time and answer some questions for us. With a professional women’s soccer league in the planning stages for Colombia, the future looks bright for Echeverri and her “Las Cafeteras” teammates.

Q: While Colombia didn’t move on to the Olympic quarterfinals, your team did end its run on a positive note with a 2-2 draw vs. the gold medal favorite U.S. Women’s National Team. How was your experience in Brazil? What does the future of Colombia women’s soccer hold?

A: Well, getting a draw against the U.S. was a huge thing for a country like Colombia. The USWNT are the world champions, the defending Olympic champions and at this point, we don’t even have a professional league in our country. The future holds great things for Colombia. We are a young group of players who dream and work to achieve big things in the near future.

Q: After a tough start to the UWS season, your Houston Aces side were literally seconds away in their last regular season game from winning the West Conference title (the Aces drew 2-2 with the Colorado Pride). How did your time with the Aces prepare you for the Olympics? What did you think of the quality of play in UWS?

A: The time with the Aces was a critical part for my preparation to the Olympics. It kept me playing at a high level and it helped me get my body in the shape I wanted for the Olympics. I believe the level of the league was really good. You could really see fantastic players and the phase of the games was great. You could score or lose in any second. Its a really good chance for players to evolve and enhance their game. I am really happy I took my chance to play with the Aces. I would want to do it again next summer. Coach “Gui Gui” [Aguinaldo Ferreira] was great and I was really sad to see my team lost the West title in the last second while I was in camp with Colombia. I regret I wasn't there to help them, the girls deserved it.

Q: Lastly, from Houston to Rio and now back to Toledo… its certainly been a long and winding road for you over the past few months. How does this year’s University of Toledo look? Will you be able to put in a challenge for the MAC title?

A: Its been a long, winding road for me since I got to Toledo three and a half years ago. I have been in every major tournament Colombia has played including World Cup, Pan Am games, South American championships, Centro American Games, etc. while playing in the MAC and studying my double major. Its been hard but I have been able to enjoy the journey and love every step of it. This year looks good for Toledo. I am pretty confident we will be able to win the MAC again. I will give everything I have on and off the field to make that happen.

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.

2016 All-United Women's Soccer Team

08/02/2016, 3:15pm EDT
By Admin

UWS champion Santa Clarita leads way with three First Team honorees

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The inaugural season in United Women’s Soccer (UWS) ended this past Saturday with a dramatic double-overtime win for the host Santa Clarita Blue Heat (5-1-3) over New Jersey Copa F.C. (8-2-1) in the league championship. All that’s left to do is announce the All-UWS Team & individual awards and business can be concluded for the 2016 season. Santa Clarita leads the way, as they have three players on the All-UWS First Team and together with New Jersey have eight of the 18 players who have garnered league-wide honors.

When it comes to the league individual awards, Copa Head Coach Roberto Aguas & Associate Coach J.R. Balzarini have been named the UWS Coaches of the Year and their high-scoring forward Krystyna Freda is the UWS Player of the Year. Real Salt Lake Women’s veteran goalkeeper Rebecca Ritchie is the UWS Defensive Player of the Year. The selections for All-UWS honors were determined from the pool of those players & coaches who received All-Conference First Team and/or individual awards last week.

2016 All-UWS First Team
F KRYSTYNA FREDA - New Jersey Copa F.C.
F KATE HOWARTH - New England Mutiny
F KASANDRA MASSEY - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
MF TATIANA ARIZA - Houston Aces
MF JACKIE BRUNO - New Jersey Copa F.C.
MF CHLOE CASTANEDA - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
D CAROL SANCHEZ - Lancaster Inferno
D NATALIE NORRIS - Real Salt Lake Women
D KELLY EAGAN - Long Island Rough Riders
D YADIRA TORAYA - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
GK REBECCA RITCHIE - Real Salt Lake Women

2016 All-UWS Honorable Mention
F JEANINE NUNEZ - New Jersey Copa F.C.
MF MICHELE MURPHY VASCONCELOS - Real Salt Lake Women
MF STEPHANIE SANTOS - New England Mutiny
D KELSEY GUDGEON - Santa Clarita Blue Heat
D LEXI LONG - Colorado Pride
D ALLYSON SWABY - New England Mutiny
GK KRISTYN SHEA - New Jersey Copa F.C.

UWS Coach Of The Year
ROBERTO AGUAS - New Jersey Copa F.C.
J.R. BALZARINI - New Jersey Copa F.C.

UWS Player Of The Year
KRYSTYNA FREDA - New Jersey Copa F.C.

UWS Defensive Player Of The Year
REBECCA RITCHIE - Real Salt Lake Women

UWS “Iron Women” Of The Year
East: New York Magic - KRISTINA HRISTIC
West: Santa Clarita Blue Heat - KELSEY GUDGEON

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.

2016 UWS West Conference Year In Review

07/28/2016, 2:15pm EDT
By Admin

Dramatic title race went down to the final game of season

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - This past season in the West Conference of United Women’s Soccer (UWS), the race for the title was most likely one of the most dramatic ever seen at the pro-am level of the sport. Three teams were in the running to be West champions going into the final weekend of the season, with the Santa Clarita Blue Heat (4-1-3) emerging victorious after the Houston Aces drew 2-2 with the Colorado Pride in the last conference game. Santa Clarita will host the East Conference champions New Jersey Copa F.C. (8-1-1) this Saturday in the final battle for the league crown.

The way the Blue Heat opened the 2016 West slate in Houston on May 21, the casual observer must have thought they would run away with the West title. Kodi Lavrusky would be named UWS West Offensive Player of the Week for her two-goal performance in the dominating win over the Aces. That result signaled a call of intent to the rest of the conference, and they would in turn respond as Santa Clarita went 0-1-2 in their next three games. Two 1-1 draws against the Colorado Storm and Real Salt Lake Women would be followed by a 4-3 loss to the Aces in their rematch on June 18th.

But after that home loss to Houston - where they held a 3-1 lead in the second half - the Blue Heat responded and went undefeated in their last four games. They took down West contenders RSL by a 2-1 score in the next game, and outscored their opposition by an 11-5 margin in their 2-0-1 regular season finish. Santa Clarita would have four of the top 5 scorers in the West, with Kasandra Massey leading the way (five goals, three assists). Chloe Castaneda (team-leading four assists) would be named the UWS West Player of the Year and she, Massey, Kelsey Gudgeon and Yadira Toraya would make the All-West First Team.

For all their guile, team work and veteran leadership, the Real Salt Lake Women (4-2-2) just could not put enough wins together this season. And that is a head-scratcher as RSL Head Coach Mark Davis had a great command of his team (five players were named All-West) and was recognized by his peers as UWS West Coach of the Year. But, unfortunately he & his team had to sit & watch as the title was decided, since they were the first West team to complete their campaign. The Real Women were one of the three teams that still had a chance at the conference title going into the final weekend, but they would have to settle for a second-place finish.

RSL opened with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Houston on May 28, who had just been the victim of a tough defeat to the Blue Heat. After that result, they would take the lead in the West race, going 3-0-1 and out-scoring their opponents by a 10-5 margin. A 2-1 loss at Santa Clarita on June 25th stalled their momentum, and than they suffered a result that truly ended their shot at the title. On June 29th vs. the Storm at home, RSL had the lead and were playing against 10 players (due to a Colorado red card) but allowed a late second-half stoppage time goal in the 1-1 draw. In hindsight, a win would’ve captured the West crown.

The Houston Aces (4-3-1) were the team that threw a wrench into the plans of Santa Clarita and Real Salt Lake, as they would rebound from a 1-0-3 start to the season and make a late title run. After their season-opening loss, Houston held a determined RSL team at bay and left Utah like a bandit in the night. Two losses to RSL and the Pride would follow before they went on a 3-0-1 run to end their 2016 slate. The Aces had a 2-1 lead over the Pride at home in the season finale, but the visitors scored a late equalizer in the 2-2 draw which scuttled Houston’s title hopes. The trio of Tatiana Ariza, Isabella Echeverri Restrepo and Courtney Seelhorst would be named to the All-West Team.

After two very successful seasons in the now-defunct W-League, the Colorado Pride (2-4-2) started their UWS West campaign with two wins over their in-state rival Storm. But after a strong start, the Pride would suffer losses to the Aces & the Real Women and returned to a .500 record. They would have nearly a month off until their next match at RSL on July 7th, and it showed in a 5-0 loss. With three games left, they still had a chance to win the topsy-turvy West race with three wins but instead went 0-1-2. They would still get a tip of the cap from the league office after all was said and done, as Lexi Long, Kaitlyn Johnson and Mariel Gutierrez made the All-West Team.

No other team was more indicative of the week-in, week-out high level of competition in the West than the Colorado Storm (1-5-2), who despite finishing in last-place still only had a -8 goal differential. Any mathematically-inclined soccer fan can theorize that after a eight game schedule that means you’re giving your opponents all they can handle. After a 0-2-1 start to the season, the Storm would defeat Houston by a 2-1 score at home on June 10 for their lone win of 2016. Olivia Blaber would be named UWS West Offensive Player of the Week for her game-winner. In the end, the defensive duo of Elle Sweeney and Alexandra Huynh were selected to the All-West Team.

WEST CONFERENCE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Week 1:
Kodi Lavrusky - Santa Clarita Blue Heat (Offensive)
Lexi Long - Colorado Pride (Defensive)
Week 2:
Paige Hayward - Houston Aces (Offensive)
Courtney Seelhorst - Houston Aces (Defensive)
Week 3:
Elena Medeiros - Real Salt Lake Women (Offensive)
Beth Plentl - Colorado Pride (Defensive)
Week 4:
Tatiana Ariza - Houston Aces (Offensive)
Olivia Blaber - Colorado Storm (Offensive)
Rebecca Ritchie - Real Salt Lake Women (Defensive)
Week 5:
Tatiana Ariza - Houston Aces (Offensive)
Jessica Vanderveur - Real Salt Lake Women (Offensive)
Stephanie Ringwood - Real Salt Lake Women (Defensive)
Week 6:
Chloe Castaneda - Santa Clarita Blue Heat (Offensive)
Yadira Toraya - Santa Clarita Blue Heat (Defensive)
Week 7:
NO WEEKLY AWARD
Week 8:
Kira Sharp - Real Salt Lake Women (Offensive)
Kelsey Gudgeon - Santa Clarita Blue Heat (Defensive)
Week 9:
Julia Hernandez - Santa Clarita Blue Heat (Offensive)
Kasandra Massey - Santa Clarita Blue Heat (Offensive)
Mykiaa Minniss - Colorado Pride (Defensive)

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.