Metuchen, NJ — The United Women’s Soccer Awards signal the end of another season of excellence for the premier pro-am soccer league in North America by recognizing standout players, coaches, and clubs. The awards carry special significance this year, as UWS is the only league that held a national championship in 2021.
“In our commitment to advancing women’s soccer, these awards serve as recognition to some of the most outstanding players, coaches, and clubs in our league,” said Stephanie Cleaves, UWS Executive Director. ”This year we’re highlighting two standout athletes at the goalkeeper, defensive, and attacking positions, as well as ‘All-UWS MVP’ awards.”
GK – Hillary Beall (SC Blue Heat) — Hillary Beall was lights out between the sticks for SC Blue Heat as they claimed their second UWS National Championship in 2021. Beall started every game of the season, and kept four clean sheets, including two shutouts in two UWS National Championship Tournament games. Beall oversaw a defensive unit that conceded only four goals all season, and now she’ll add a UWS Goalkeeper of the Year award to her trophy cabinet, having previously been named the All-UWS Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.
GK – Allie Augur (CT Fusion) — Joining Beall in claiming this honor is Allie Augur of Connecticut Fusion. Augur started 12 matches this season and came away with 46 total saves for an average of 3.83 saves per game. She also contributed three clean sheets and combined for two more shutouts as she helped her side to the UWS National Championship game. Her influence went well beyond her shot stopping ability, as she served as an important leader and organizer of the Fusion defense.
D – Jamie Erickson (SA Athenians) — Jamie Erickson is one of two All-UWS Defensive Players of the Year after proving instrumental for SA Athenians in their run to the Southwest Conference title. She played every minute of all 13 games, and anchored a defense that allowed only 11 goals in 10 regular-season games. Erickson also played a crucial role in attack when it mattered most, heading home the winning goal in the Southwest Conference title game.
D – Gisele Thompson (SC Blue Heat) — Gisele Thompson of SC Blue Heat, a truly remarkable 15-year-old talent, shares this award with Erickson. Thompson was key for SC Blue Heat’s title run, contributing at both ends of the pitch. The US under-16 international came up big in the National Championship Tournament, scoring in the semifinal and registering an assist in the final.
F – Kelsey Araujo (FC Buffalo) — Kelsey Araujo used a destructive combination of strength and athleticism to become one of the elite attackers across UWS. In FC Buffalo’s expansion year, Araujo found the back of the net eight times in the regular season. She also proved to be an excellent playmaker, contributing seven assists as well. Her best performance of the year may have come in the East Conference semifinals, where she scored twice and added an assist to help her club advance.
F – Alyssa Thompson (SC Blue Heat) — Alyssa Thompson joins her sister, Gisele, among the honorees after a potent season with SC Blue Heat. The 2021 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year was just as dominant against older opposition, finding the back of the net twice in three regular-season outings while also scoring in the national semifinals.
The All-UWS MVP awards go to two veteran players that played important parts in leading their teams to the most wins.
D – Paige Eli (Midwest United) — Paige Eli was irreplaceable for Midwest United at center back. She provided defensive excellence and was also great on the ball as Midwest United rode an unbeaten regular season to the national semifinals.
M – Kenne Kessler (Lone Star Republic) — Kenne Kessler’s 12 goals and five assists in just 10 games between the regular season and playoffs paced Lone Star Republic, one of the more dominant sides in UWS.
Leonardo “Luty” Neveleff (SC Blue Heat FC) — Leonardo Neveleff, a former professional player himself with Estudiantes in Argentina, took the job with SC Blue Heat in 2018 and has seen plenty of success — none greater than his achievements this season. Blue Heat won the conference title with a record of four wins and two draws, but truly asserted dominance at the UWS National Championships, where they outscored their two opponents by a 9-0 aggregate score.
In honor of Santa Clarita Blue Heat’s fifth season in UWS (2020 cancelled, the league is excited to recognize team owner Carlos Marroquin. His commitment to advancing the women’s game aligns with the league’s mission since its inception. SC Blue Heat won the 2016 National Championship in the inaugural season of UWS, finished as the runners-up in 2017, and claimed National Championship glory again this past season.
Social Media Teams of the Year — UWS teams with the best social media presence and best promotion of women’s soccer:
Live Gameday Experience Teams of the Year — UWS teams that provided the best in-person gameday experience for fans and players at venue:
Digital Gameday Experience Teams of the Year — UWS teams that provided the best digital gameday experience for fans and players (live stream, live feed updates, etc):
Rookie Teams of the Year — Expansion teams with the most successful inaugural 2021 season in UWS:
GK – Hillary Beall (SC Blue Heat)^
D – Gisele Thompson (SC Blue Heat)
D – Jamie Erickson (SA Athenians)
D – Kylee McIntosh (CT Fusion)*
D – Paige Eli (Midwest United)
M – Avery Lockwood (Midwest United)
M – Kenne Kessler (Lone Star Republic)
F – Alyssa Thompson (SC Blue Heat)
F – Amanda Smith (SA Athenians)
F – Kelsey Araujo (FC Buffalo)
F – Tori Sousa (CT Fusion)^
GK – Allie Augur (CT Fusion)
D – Lauren Sesselmann (SC Blue Heat)
D – Lexy Smith (Corktown AFC)
D – Satara Murray (FC Austin Elite)
M – Brooke Barbuto (Syracuse DA)*
M – Savannah DeMelo (SC Blue Heat)
M – Teresa Rook (Lancaster Inferno)*
F – Carissima Cutrona (FC Buffalo)^
F – Jo Nakirya (Side FC 92)
F – Lena Silano (SC Blue Heat)
F – Mallory Olsson (Chicago Mustangs)
GK – Mia Wildeman (SA Athenians)
D – Emily Madril (Pensacola FC)
D – Lara Schenk (Chicago Mustangs)
M – Anna Hauer (Calgary Foothills)
M – Bronwyn Boswell (Lone Star Republic)
M – Olivia Chu (Impact FC)
M – Tiffany Weimer (CT Fusion)
F – Itala Gemelli (Corktown AFC)
F – Melania Cunha Striker (NJ Copa FC)
F – Stitch Currie (Midwest United)
F – Sydney Stephens (St. Louis Scott Gallagher)
GK – Kaylin Williams (KC Courage)
GK – Maia Perez (Midwest United)
D – Eva Wirtz (Atlanta Panthers)
D – Madison Duncan (Detroit City FC)
D – Meghan Cunningham (NE Mutiny)
M – Nina Nicosia (Chicago Mustangs)
F – Van Fitch (Side FC 92)
^ signifies two-time All-UWS selection
* signifies three-time All-UWS selection
(most minutes played in regular season)
Kaylin Williams (KC Courage)
Lindsay Guerrero (KC Courage)
Marissa DiGenova (Lancaster Inferno)
Teresa Rook (Lancaster Inferno)
Lara Schenk (Chicago Mustangs)
Nina Nicosia (Chicago Mustangs)
Jamie Erickson (SA Athenians)
Liz Harrington (FC Austin Elite)
Zigi Ahortor (WilCo FC)
Iris Rabot (SC Blue Heat)
Katie Smith (Kongo SC)
Rebecca Grisdale (Calgary Foothills)
Samantha Gouveia (Impact FC)