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UWS East Conference

Regular Season 2018

Recent UWS East Conference News

January Roundup: GRFC Women Reloading Roster

01/30/2019, 4:00pm EST
By Admin

SCBH re-signs top scorer; Captain Evans returns to DET

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.

New England Mutiny To Play At Lusitano Stadium

01/23/2019, 9:30am EST
By Admin

Pioneers & Mutiny merge to create professional pathway for women

LUDLOW, MA - When the New England Mutiny take the field for the 2019 season in the East Conference of United Women's Soccer (UWS), it will mark the 20th season for the club. One of the oldest women's soccer franchises in history will have a new home as the Mutiny will play its matches at the iconic confines of Gremio Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Massachusetts. The announcement of the club playing at Lusitano Stadium is the first step in a new partnership between two long-standing organizations in New England: the Western Mass Pioneers of USL League Two and the New England Mutiny of UWS.

The coming together of the groups will elevate the level of women's soccer in the region and provide a pathway to professional soccer for women in the area as the Mutiny and Western United Pioneers FC will operate under the same umbrella.

"We could not be more excited to have the New England Mutiny showcasing pre-professional women's soccer at their new home, the Gremio Lusitano Stadium," said Dennis Fialho, Vice President of Western United Pioneers Futebol Club. "The merger of the Western United Pioneers and Mutiny organizations, and the move to the stadium, further solidifies our commitment to soccer in this region. Best of all, it provides a building block for the community; a location where families come together and enjoy the beautiful game of soccer and each other's company. We have created an environment where boys and girls can watch a higher level of soccer live, meet players, and be motivated to develop through our club player path."

The New England Mutiny compete in the UWS East Conference. UWS is a national pro-am women's soccer league sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and is the second-tier of women's soccer in the country. Three UWS players were selected in the NWSL professional draft this month and 34 players were signed to professional contracts with teams overseas this off-season. Several UWS players will see action in this year's FIFA Women's World Cup, including two current Mutiny players Allyson Swaby and Chantelle Swaby (Jamaica) and former goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe (Canada).

"I did not need to be sold on Lusitano Stadium as a venue for the New England Mutiny as most of my greatest memories as a player occurred on that field and events at Lusitano provide the greatest atmosphere bar none," said New England Mutiny Managing Director Joe Ferrara, Jr. "However, it was the excitement and passion for the women's team demonstrated by the new administration of the Pioneers that I anticipate will invigorate this franchise. I look forward to working with this administration to provide a team that girls in the area can aspire to play for in years to come."

"I am excited to bring women's soccer back to Gremio Lusitano Stadium," said Western Mass Pioneers President Celso Correia. "The Mutiny has always been one of the best teams in the nation and it will have the full support of our club."

The Mutiny season will begin in May and the team will share the 3,000-seat venue with the Western Mass Pioneers USL League Two men's team, which will begin its 21st season this Spring. Schedules for the upcoming season will be released next month at mutinysoccer.com, westernunitedpioneers.org and wmpioneers.com!

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.

New Year's Roundup: Pops For Popadinova

01/09/2019, 3:00pm EST
By Admin

UWS alum awarded top honor in Bulgaria; NWSL Draft updates, etc.

THIRD TIME'S A CHARM FOR POPADINOVA... Florida Gulf Coast University & Santa Clarita Blue Heat star Evdokia Popadinova was named Bulgaria's top female footballer for the third straight year on Sunday. Popadinova was a United Soccer Coaches (USC) Division I All-America Second Team honoree for FGCU this past fall as she scored 14 goals and seven assists (35 points). Evdokia appeared in eight matches for Santa Clarita last summer and tallied two goals and an assist. She had first-hand experience with the Blue Heat in the 2017 post-season when she played against them in the United Women's Soccer (UWS) National Semifinal. Popadinova was named to the UWS All-Tournament Team for Detroit Sun FC for her strong performance in the loss against her future team.

MORE UWS ALUMNI ADDED TO NWSL DRAFT LIST... the preliminary list of draft-eligible players has been updated since its release in late December. Nine more UWS alumni will have the chance to make their professional dreams come true on Thursday, January 10 at 12:00 PM ET at the United Soccer Coaches (USC) Convention in Chicago, IL, bringing up the total to 22. 2017 All-UWS selection Bethany Balcer (Grand Rapids FC) and Western New York Flash forward Erica Hubert (2018 Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Year) highlight the new additions, with the list provided below. For the full draft-eligible list, click HERE.

POS. NAME (COLLEGE / CLUB)
F/M Bethany Balcer (Spring Arbor University / Grand Rapids FC Women)
F/M Christina Bellero (St. John's University / Long Island Rough Riders)
F/D Mykayla Brown (Indiana University / Indy Premier SC)
M/D Ryley Bugay (Marquette University / FC Indiana)
F/M Erica Hubert (Bowling Green State University / Western New York Flash)
F/D Alex Kimball (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Real Salt Lake Women)
M Sarah Kinzner (University of Colorado / Calgary Foothills WFC)
F/D Madison Pogarch (Rutgers University / Detroit Sun FC)
F/M Charlotte Williams (Penn State University / Western New York Flash)

SANTA CLARITA ANNOUNCE FIRST SIGNINGS... when the Blue Heat announced their first 2019 signings on social media, Popadinova was included amongst five returnees. She will once again play alongside a quartet with UCLA connections: goalkeeper Lauren Brzykcy, midfielder Chloe Castaneda, defender Jacey Pederson and midfielder Viviana Villacorta. Villacorta also stars for the U.S. U-20's and three of her national team mates will join her this summer in Santa Clarita. Midfielder Savannah Demelo (First Team All-America for USC), forward Penelope Hocking (Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for USC) and forward Ashley Sanchez (First Team All-America for UCLA) will provide a potent injection of talent as the Blue Heat look to capture another league title. Santa Clarita captured the first-ever UWS Championship in 2016 and made it to the 2017 National Final before falling in double-overtime.

GRFC WOMEN ROLL THE BALL OUT... Grand Rapids Football Club announced that James Gilpin will return as the GRFC Women's coach for the 2019 campaign. Gilpin led the Ladies In Blue to a 7-1-2 regular season record and the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Playoffs last summer. GRFC Women went on to defeat Detroit via penalty kicks in the conference semifinals and topped Lansing United by a 4-2 score to lift the Midwest Championship for the second consecutive season. The 2018 season came to a disappointing end as they lost in the UWS National Semifinal at home. Gilpin will have the services of veteran midfielder/forward Marti Corby to count on for the 2019 season. Corby has been a GRFC regular the first two seasons and helped lead the team to a UWS National Championship in 2017. She was was named captain during the 2018 campaign and has scored 10 career goals, putting her second on the all-time list.

FROM CALGARY TO KALMAR... Calgary Foothills Women's FC forward Christabel Oduro has signed with IFK Kalmar of the Swedish Elitettan for the 2019 season. The 26-year-old Ontario-native has five caps for the Canadian Women's National Team and appeared in 10 games (one goal, two assists) for Calgary last summer. It was historic season for Foothills WFC, as the team won the West Conference title and advanced to the four-team UWS National Championship in their second-year of operation. IFK Kalmar is based in Kalmar, Sweden and will play in the second tier of Swedish women's soccer when the Elitettan kicks off this April. The team was relegated from the top-flight Damallsvenskan in October 2018 after a 12th-place finish.

About United Women's Soccer (UWS): We are 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.