METCHUEN, NJ – A quartet of United Women’s Soccer (UWS) alumnae are finding success on the Iberian Peninsula. It’s yet another pack of former UWS players to find professional opportunities awaiting them overseas in Spain and Portugal.
Millene Cabral (Santa Clarita Blue Heat 2018; LAGOC 2019) inked a deal with Real Sporting de Gijon in Spain. Cabral most recently played for Mynavi Vegalta Sendai Ladies, who compete in Nadeshiko League 1: the top flight of women’s soccer in Japan. Cabral was a three-time selection to the UWS Team of the Week, part of a stellar 2019 season that saw her lead LA Galaxy OC in goals. The Martin Methodist standout was the program’s all-time goals scored leader with 129 goals in 78 matches, culminating in First Team NAIA All-American honors in her senior campaign.
Michaela “Mouse” Kovacs (Grand Rapids FC 2017, 2018; Midwest United FC 2020) recently signed with Boavista Futebol Clube in Portugal. Kovacs is one of the more decorated UWS players in recent memory, winning a 2017 UWS National Championship (and pulling in Championship MVP honors), a 2018 UWS Midwest Conference crown, and most recently a 2020 UWS Keyworth Showcase title. The Hudsonville, MI native finished strong at Michigan State, starting all 55 appearances for the Spartans, accumulating five goals and one assist.
Monique Gonçalves (NJ Copa FC – 2016, 2017) Goncalves is reupping abroad, moving to Sport Clube União Torreense (SCUT) in Portugal. The Portuguese international has previously played in Swedish for Sunnana SK, Iceland for UMF Sindri and Portugal for Clube Atletico Ouriense. The international has also had a cup of coffee with the Portuguese Women’s National Team. She spent two years in Jersey with NJ Copa FC alongside Krystyna Freda and Alana Nicole O’Neill – who also signed overseas recently. The defender/midfielder was a two-time All-MAAC selection at Monmouth. Goncalves joins former UWS player Chandra Davidson (Indiana Union – 2018) who also recently signed with SCUT.
Elena Santos (New England Mutiny 2016, 2017, 2018) After growing up in Connecticut, going to UConn, and playing for the Mutiny, Santos is getting a change of scenery in Portugal. Elena signed with FC Famalicão in Portugal back in August. Santos is a quintessential “swiss army knife,” able to play at any position on the field, making her a valuable asset to her new squad. She primarily saw time at midfielder/defender in college, spending two seasons at Fairfield before becoming a Huskie for her final two years. While playing in Storrs, Santos made 31 starts in 35 appearances, scoring five goals with five assists.
Get to know UWS alumni like these each week as they take over the league’s Instagram story @uwssoccer. Check out one of the latest IG story highlights where featured pro Haley Nolan shares about her life overseas. The Connecticut Fusion star (2018-2019) now plays for the London City Lionesses in the FA Championship.