SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – The regular season has concluded for United Women's Soccer (UWS) and Spring Arbor University's Bethany Balcer has claimed the 2017 Golden Boot as the league's top goal scorer.
In her debut season, Balcer made eight appearances scoring 14 goals for Grand Rapids FC. She also added three assists for a league-best 31 points.
The recognition comes as no surprise to those that have followed Balcer's career through her first two years at Spring Arbor. The Hudsonville, Michigan native is a two-time Crossroads League Player of the Year and was recently named the 2016-17 Crossroads League Female Student-Athlete of the Year, becoming the first-ever repeat winner of the award. She helped SAU to a 22-1-1 record on the pitch as a sophomore and a second straight appearance in the NAIA National Championship Final. The runner-up finish in 2016 followed the program's first-ever NAIA national title during her freshman season.
Balcer racked up 74 points on 31 goals and 12 assists in 24 matches for the Cougars during her dominant 2016 campaign, which boosted her career totals to 61 goals, 25 assists and 147 points. The 74 points and 31 goals in 2016 set new SAU single-season records, while the 61 career goals put Balcer No. 2 on the program's all-time list.
Grand Rapids FC closed out the regular season on a torrid stretch with five consecutive wins, outscoring its opponents 22-2. One of the biggest factors during that span was the outstanding play of Balcer. In a league littered with NCAA Division I players, the two-time NAIA First Team All-American has found the back of the net 13 times in the last four matches, helping the team secure a first place finish in the UWS Midwest Conference heading into postseason play.
As the regular season champions, Grand Rapids FC (8-1-1) will host the Midwest playoffs this weekend in at Grandville High School in Grandville, Michigan. GRFC will take on fourth-place FC Indiana (4-6-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday while second-place Detroit Sun FC (6-1-3) and third-place Michigan Legends FC (4-3-3) play in the first Midwest semifinal at 4:30 p.m. The two semifinal winners will go face-to-face in the 2017 UWS Midwest Final on Sunday, July 16 at 6 p.m.
The winner of the UWS Midwest Final will earn an automatic berth into the UWS National Championship (July 21-22). Grandville High School will also be the host venue for that event.
About United Women's Soccer (UWS)
UWS is a national women's soccer league sanctioned by U.S. Soccer through the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA). UWS is a professionally operated league created for teams that meet high minimum standards. The season runs from May until the end of July, culminating in a National Championship match. The UWS player pool is comprised of college players, aspiring & former professionals and international stars.