METUCHEN, NJ – Another four United Women’s Soccer alumnae have signed professional contracts overseas, continuing a strong tradition of UWS players hopping the pond to advance their soccer careers.
Evi Popadinova (Santa Clarita Blue Heat) recently signed with AaB Kind Elitefodbold in Denmark, marking her second go-round in the professional ranks. Popadinova, the four-time reigning Bulgarian Footballer of the Year, is returning to the pros for the first time since taking a break for college life in 2016. The Bulgarian National Team player previously played for Bristol Academy in The FA Women’s Super League (FA WSL) and London Bees in FA WSL 2. Evi dominated the college ranks – first at NAIA side Northwestern Ohio where she scored 36 goals in 44 matches; before nabbing back-to-back All-American honors at Florida Gulf Coast the previous two seasons. Popadinova played for SC Blue Heat from 2018-2019 in the UWS West Conference.
Annika Schmidt (Indiana Union) will be taking her talents to Sweden, inking a two-year deal with Göteborg FC. Schmidt helped Indiana to a Midwest Conference crown in her second season with the club. The Indiana-born defender landed on the All-BIG EAST First Team for the third straight season and was named first team All-Region after notching two goals in 17 starts for the Butler Bulldogs. Butler finished tops in the conference in goals allowed, behind the senior’s efforts on the backline. Schmidt follows in the footsteps of U.S. women’s national team members Yael Averbuch, Christen Press, and Hope Solo by joining the Swedish-side.
Emily Burns (Calgary Foothills WFC) signed her first pro contract with Real Racing Club in Spain. The Canadian-born backstop played an integral role in Calgary’s back-to-back trips to the UWS semifinals after collecting West Conference titles. Burns was named All-UWS West Conference Honorable Mention in 2019, when she helped guide Foothills to the national championship. Two years prior, Burns was an All-UWS West Conference First Team and All-UWS Second Team selection. The ‘keeper also picked up a Canada West all-star first team nod in her final season at MacEwan College. She’s the second UWS player to find their way to Real Racing Club in recent memory, as Lancaster Inferno center back Sonia Rada spent time with the club following the 2019 UWS season.
Finally, Emily Dolan (Lancaster Inferno 2014-2016) re-signed with Real Betis Fem in Spain’s top flight. Dolan is coming back after suffering a season ending injury in 2019. A former Delaware Goalkeeper of the Year, the Wilmington-native is ranked as the 17th-rated goalie in the United States Women’s National Team pool by everybodysoccer.com. She’ll suit up alongside fellow UWS-alum Michaela Adam (Colorado Pride) in Real Betis’s pursuit of improving on their 12th-place finish last year.