METUCHEN, NJ - United Women's Soccer (UWS) hit a record last month when eight alumnae were selected in the 2020 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft: the highest-ever drafted in a single draft during the four-year history of the pro-am league. Since that time, UWS stars have been drawing attention both on this continent and overseas as professional clubs look to strengthen their rosters. Leading the docket is the 2019 UWS Midwest Player of the Year Samantha Dewey (Indiana Union), as the former Xavier University standout signed with Real Betis Féminas of the Primera Iberdrola - the top flight of women's soccer in Spain.
Dewey started in all 23 matches (four game winners, 30 points) for the Musketeers last fall during her red-shirt senior season and capped off her career as a United Soccer Coaches (USC) All-America Third Team selection. Samantha finished last summer with 13 goals and six assists (32 points) for the Midwest Conference champion Indiana Union. The All-UWS selection's scoring prowess for the Union was timely as well. She tallied six game-winning goals for Indiana: great enough for two-thirds of the team's nine victories in 2019. Dewey will join two other former UWS stars at Real Betis: forward Michaela Abam (Colorado Pride) and goalkeeper Emily Dolan (Lancaster Inferno).
Former Penn State University midfielder Ellie Jean (New England Mutiny) was also selected to the 2020 All-UWS Team. Jean was a dominant presence in the Mutiny midfield last summer, starting in eight games (goal, four assists) for the regular-season East Conference champions. Ellie has signed a professional contract with FC Nordsjælland of the Elitedivisionen - the top flight in Denmark. Another New England alum used her stellar 2019 in goal for club and country (Colombia) to get a pro contract as well. Goalkeeper Catalina Perez signed with ACF Fiorentina of Italy's Serie A.
Defender Alana O'Neill knows all about UWS as she played for TSF Academy in the league's inaugural season in 2016 and than starred for New Jersey Copa FC in the 2018 campaign. O'Neill made the All-UWS East First Team for TSF, playing in nine matches (goal, two assists) while for Copa, she was named to the All-UWS Second Team for her stalwart presence in 10 matches that season. After a stint with FF Lugano 1976 of the Frauen Nationalliga A in Switzerland last year, Alana has recently signed with Benfica of the Campeonato Nacional - the top flight in Portugal.
Stay tuned for more updates on UWS alumnae as they seek professional opportunities overseas and in the United States.