Metuchen, NJ — The 2023 UWS season officially comes to a close with the announcement of the annual All-UWS Awards. The 2023 season was another exciting year for the UWS with 39 teams competing across North America with a highly competitive regular season and an exhilarating playoff structure culminating in the National Championship.
This year's National Championship took place in Santa Clarita, California, and saw two teams from the East, Lancaster Inferno, and Sporting CT, as well as the Central Conference winners, the Michigan Jaguars, and the West's SC Blue Heat, making it to the finals. After two thrilling semi-finals, the Championship game turned out to be a nail-biter between the 2-time National Champions, SC Blue Heat, and the Michigan Jaguars. The game came down to penalty kicks, with the Jaguars emerging victorious and claiming the title of the 2023 UWS National Champions.
The league has already released its All-Conference awards and will now be announcing the All-UWS Team and individual awards. The All-Conference Awards can be viewed by visiting the following links.
The 2023 All-UWS Goalkeeper of the Year award goes to Jordan Brown of SC Blue Heat. Brown also earned the West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year award for her outstanding season with the Blue Heat. Starting in every game this season, Brown led her team to a conference title and proved key in an intense semi-final to ensure her team made it to their fourth National Championship game. Brown’s exceptional shot-stopping ability and command of her box were instrumental in Blue Heat's success during the 2023 season.
The 2023 All-UWS Defensive Player of the Year honor goes to National Champion, Natalie Kocsis. Kocsis was also named the Great Lakes Division Defensive Player of the Year for her stellar season with the Michigan Jaguars. Serving as the Jaguars' starting central defensive midfielder, Kocsis played a pivotal role in helping her team reach the final four and showcased her talents on the grand stage as the Jaguars clinched their first UWS National Championship. Kocsis featured in every game solidifying the Jaguars’ midfield and thwarting opponents' attempts to create attacks through the middle.
The 2023 All-UWS Offensive Player of the Year award goes to Sporting CT’s Tiffany Weimer. Weimer finished the 2023 season as the leading goal-scorer and assist-leader with 13 goals and nine assists, earning her the title of East Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Weimer’s dual role for Sporting CT as a player-coach averaging 65 minutes a game makes her attacking statistics even more remarkable and demonstrates the wealth of knowledge and experience she possesses.
Four exceptional individuals have been named the league’s Most Valuable Players for their outstanding performances during the 2023 season.
Marcy Barberic was a dominant force in the attack for the East Conference Regular-Season Champions, FC Buffalo. She was named to the 2023 UWS East Conference First Team after scoring 13 goals, tying for the leading goal-scorer in the 2023 season, and tallying six assists, Barbaric played a crucial role in Buffalo’s impressive, dynamic attack that scored the highest number of goals in the regular season (43 goals). Her intelligent movement, speed, and clinical finishing ability made her a constant threat on the field.
Katelyn (Katie) Krohn earned a reputation as one of the most dangerous attacking players in the East conference, finishing the season with 12 goals, the second-highest total in the 2023 season. Krohn’s 12 goals and 2 assists meant she contributed to 100% of Albany Rush’s goals, a feat that secured her a position in the 2023 UWS East Conference First Team. Her goal-scoring prowess and playmaking abilities were the driving force behind her side's attack.
Marissa DiGenova was a standout player for Lancaster Inferno with her dynamic ability to contribute from a variety of positions. DiGenova totaled an incredible 990 minutes during the 2023 season, earning most of her minutes as the Inferno’s holding midfielder. Despite her defensive responsibilities this season, DiGenova emerged as the side’s leading goal-scorer with six goals and two assists. Her impressive ability to balance her offensive and defensive responsibilities and fantastic ball skills earned her the title of the 2023 East Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Grace Stordy returned to Calgary Foothills for the 2023 UWS season and once again proved to be a key player for her side. Demonstrating outstanding endurance to contribute at both ends of the field, Stordy made a name for herself as a reliable, hard-to-beat defender with an impressive ability to take on players and put dangerous crosses into the box. She was a regular feature for Calgary Foothills, tallying three assists during the season with numerous attacking opportunities. As a result, Stordy was named the 2023 West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The 2023 UWS Young Player of the Year Award goes to Kayla Keefer of Lancaster Inferno. Keefer, a new signing for the Inferno, began the 2023 season with the U23 squad playing in UWS2. After playing in two games and scoring two goals, Keefer’s talent was quickly recognized and she joined up with the Inferno first team.
Keefer's impact on the Lancaster Inferno's first team became increasingly apparent, and as the playoffs approached, she had secured her place in the starting lineup. During her time in the top tier of UWS, Keefer amassed a total of 307 minutes, showcasing her skills by scoring four goals and providing one assist. As a rising senior, she is set to continue her soccer journey at Central Columbia High School and has already committed to playing for Ole Miss, an NCAA Division I school, starting in 2025.
Erie Commodores’ Olivia Dixon receives an honorable mention for her outstanding contributions during the 2023 season. Despite being just 16 years old, Dixon demonstrated remarkable maturity and confidence while playing in the highly competitive East Conference. Her exceptional ability to isolate opponents and defend in 1-v-1 situations, combined with her composure on the ball and confidence to play in tight spaces proved to be invaluable assets to the Erie backline. Dixon earned a spot on the UWS Team of the Week in Week 3 and throughout the season established herself as a key player for the Commodores.
Michigan Jaguars Head Coach Douglas Steinard entered his third season of coaching in the UWS and his second season in the top tier of UWS play. His team boasted the best attacking record in the Great Lakes Division, amassing 30 goals in seven games. He led his team through an impressive post-season run, navigating a challenging Central Conference playoff against the Cincinnati Sirens. Most notably, Steinard’s team overcame the two-time National Champions, SC Blue Heat (2021 and 2016) in the National Championship to claim their first UWS National Championship title.
The prestigious UWS Team Owner of the Year award has been rightfully bestowed upon Justin Van Til, the visionary behind Maine Footy, the UWS's pioneering team from the state of Maine. In their inaugural year, Maine Footy delivered an impressive season, concluding the regular season with a commendable 4-1-3 record and securing a well-deserved spot in the East Conference playoffs.
The success of Maine Footy in their debut season can largely attributed to the professional environment crafted by Van Til. Maine Footy has built an exceptional infrastructure and established a robust social framework that not only fosters a competitive and safe playing environment for women at the pro-am level but also actively contributes to the community and drives the growth of soccer in the state of Maine.
GK - Jordan Brown (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
D - Grace Stordy (Calgary Foothills)
D - Kate Drummond (Cincinnati Sirens)
D - Sonia Rada (Coppermine United)
D/M - Marissa DiGenova (Lancaster Inferno)
M - Natalie Kocsis (Michigan Jaguars)
M - Olufolasade “Sade” Adamolekun (Santa Clarita Blue Heat)
F - Tiffany Weimer (Sporting CT)
F - Marcy Barberic (FC Buffalo)
F - Jenna Lang (Indiana Union)
F - Steph Strong (Michigan Legends)
GK - Batoul Reda (Michigan Jaguars)
D - Tess Ford (FC Buffalo)
D - Kylee McIntosh (Sporting CT)
D - Solana Kelly (Michigan Legends)
D - Kyra Karfonta (Michigan Jaguars)
M - Momo Nakoa (Calgary Foothills)
M - Phoebe Canoles (Coppermine United)
F - Makala Woods (Cincinnati Sirens)
F - Carissima Cutrona (FC Buffalo)
F - Katelyn “Katie” Krohn (Albany Rush)
F - Noel Blain (Michigan Jaguars)
United Women’s Soccer (UWS) is a national pro-am league founded in December 2015 on the basis of providing equality, opportunity, and respect for the women’s game. UWS has proven to be an innovative league that has paved the way for the further advancement of women’s soccer. Eighty-plus teams based in the United States and Canada comprise two distinct levels of competition: UWS and UWS League Two (UWS2).
With over 38 NWSL draftees & 100 professional contracts to its name, UWS provides high-level competition for college players, aspiring & former professionals, and international stars. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship.