Category Archives: News

Placer Alum and Brothers Ben & Jake Sieber Thriving at Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee

NASHVILLE – The Trevecca Nazarene University men’s soccer team (1-0-0) opened the season with a 2-0 shutout of the visiting University of Alabama in Huntsville Chargers (0-1-0) on Thursday at the Trojan Soccer Complex.

 The Trojans took the lead in the 35th minute on a Marlon Grossmann goal, his first career goal for the Trojans and the first of the season for the Purple and White. Michael Martey played the ball to Grossman near the mouth of the goal for his first assist of the year.   

 The Trojans and Grossmann found the back of the net quickly as the second half started, Grossmann scored in the 48th minute. It was Ben Sieber on the assist, his first career assist.

Neither team could get on the scoreboard for the rest of the match. 

Giancarlo Martinez tallied one save while playing the full 90 in goal for the Chargers.

The Chargers held the edge in shots on goal against TNU by a 9-4 margin. UAH generated seven corner kicks to the Trojans’ four, but Trevecca collected a total of 17 shots and finished twice for the win.

The Trojans head to Jackson, Tenn. on Wednesday when they face the Bulldogs of Union University at 7:30 PM.

Visit the Official Home of Trevecca Athletics at www.tnutrojans.com

 

Kevin Unsworth, Boys DOC, Attends Argentina Coaching Education Trip

BUENOS AIRES — For the first time in nearly three years, NorCal Premier Soccer sent more than 30 coaches abroad to learn from some of the best clubs in the world in order to bring back valuable lessons to Northern California.

NorCal Premier Soccer believes that better coaches make better players which is why the organization’s leadership worked in conjunction with the Argentine Technicians Football Association and Premier International Tours to schedule a 10-day program designed to improve the practices of nearly three dozen NorCal leaders.

Following the trip the coaches, mostly made up of club directors throughout the state, will pass along what they’ve learned to players and other coaches to raise the level of the game locally.

After a long day of traveling, the NorCal contingent arrived in Buenos Aires Friday and immediately began the course with a lecture from Juan Cruz Anselmi, a youth development expert who has worked with famous Argentine clubs Independiente, San Lorenzo, and Newell’s Old Boys as well as for the AFA and CONMEBOL.

Anselmi’s three-hour presentation and discussion focused on early development from ages 6-13 and how much of an impact those crucial years can have on a player especially when it comes to the thousands of decisions they must make each game.

“We talk a lot about decision making when players have the ball but over here in Argentina, they’re referring to the decision that is made first before you get the ball when you’re scanning and you’re anticipating what’s going to happen,” said PDP Assistant Director Justin Selander. “And then as the ball is coming to you, you’re thinking of your decision and then once you receive the ball there’s a different process of how you make that decision. Then once you receive the ball there’s even another decision to be made when you feel pressure. It was fascinating to learn more about the pieces of how you make decisions before you have the ball when a lot of our decision making is when we do have the ball.”

The longtime youth coach then gave a detailed explanation on how to work well in those formative years, going over a seven step process while stressing the need for trainers to formulate their lessons to the individual child based on their socio-cultural background and personality traits.

“If you don’t work really well in these formative years, it will be tough to fully develop a player,” Anselmi said.

This idea came from early in Anselmi’s coaching career when he tried to directly replicate a model from another country but found it ineffective with Argentine players.

“(The kids) are players before they’re athletes,” Anselmi said. “The game needs to be adapted to fit the player, not the other way around.”

After a much-needed full night of sleep, the coaches went back to work Saturday morning where they bussed just outside of Buenos Aires proper to visit the training center of Independiente, the most successful club in the history of the Copa Libertadores.

There, the NorCal visitors were allowed to observe three youth team games as the capital city side faced fellow Primera Division club Sarmiento before first team staff members Maximiliano Sa and Santiago Rodriguez and club legend Francisco Sa explained the vision and goals for Independiente.

The trio provided detailed information on the periodization process for the entire year of trainings while laying out the club’s core philosophy, namely to always think forward both on and off the field.

According to Independiente, there are many desirable qualities in players with intelligence counting as the hardest to develop, but the most important for the club that produced Sergio Aguero will always be passion.

Independiente tries to foster this passion among their youth, many who grow up in the poorer areas of the city and can’t even afford bus fare to practice, which is why they choose to encourage their players to develop decision making skills in a calm and compassionate way. Here if a team is struggling in training, the coach will call them aside and ask what they can do to fix the issues. Only if the team continues to struggle will the coaches provide suggestions.

“Independiente talked about their rich history and are very proud of their accomplishments, not only in winning championships, but developing players and taking care of them in their youth,” said Placer United Boys Director of Coaching Kevin Unsworth. “I was really impressed by their openness to share information with us in addition to giving us full access to their facilities.”

Saturday night brought the much-anticipated first Argentine Primera Division game of the trip where the group of more than 30 traveled to the south side of Buenos Aires to watch Huracan defeat Newell’s Old Boys 1-0 in a match full of physicality and passion.

“The players played at such an intense speed and were always looking to go forward,” Selander said. “There were lots of intense battles, you’ve gotta be able to play with a lot of nicks and bruises here. The crowd is so connected with the fans and team, it doesn’t really seem like they’re ever really negative with them, they’re constantly trying to connect with them and show their love and support.”

“Seeing this shows me how we need the consistency in training of being intense in our actions and the intensity of sessions when players are in the moment of the action in practice, they have to be going 100 percent or more,” he added. “We have to figure out how mentally we can get them to always give their best.”

The following day, NorCal coaches took the time to learn a little more about Buenos Aires and perhaps its most famous club, Boca Juniors. The group toured the city’s La Boca neighborhood, visited the club museum, and ended the day with a Primera match between Defensa y Justica and Boca Juniors.

Finally, the coaches ended their short time in Buenos Aires by watching youth and first team trainings at Lanus before listening to a lecture from the club’s staff.

For those in attendance, it was an opportunity to experience the game at its more humble stage as the Lanus complex lies in an area surrounded by homes that are barred up and fenced for the protection of their owners. NorCal’s tour guide likened the experience of those growing up here to living in jail where the people were prisoners rather than criminals and one of the few ways to escape this metaphorical prison was through soccer. Perhaps this is why, as many noted, the Argentine players fight for every loose ball and through every challenge with a ferocity not often seen elsewhere.

“Both club visits were fun and interesting experiences,” Unsworth said. “What really stood out was their sense of community and culture. Overall I’m really happy to be here and looking forward to seeing what else the trip has in store for us.”

After Lanus, it was onto Rosario where NorCal’s trip begins Monday night after a drive through the Argentine countryside.

 

ECNL Girls Announces Inaugural ECNL All-Regional League Teams

RICHMOND, Va. (August 18, 2022) – After an extraordinary 2021-22 season that saw the ECNL Girls Regional League crown the inaugural ECNL Regional League Champions in Seattle, the league is excited to announce the first ever ECNL All-Regional League teams.

“These players have not only excelled as individuals in their performances on the field but have helped their teams qualify for the postseason championship events and the 2022 Regional League Finals in Seattle,” said ECNL Girls Commissioner Ralph Richards. “Congratulations to the players for their dedication, commitment, and years of hard work to earn this honor. We are excited to see what these fantastic young ladies will do in the future in the regional league, in college, and beyond.”

Honorees were selected by conference awards committees with technical representatives from every club in each of the 13 ECNL Girls Regional Leagues. A total of 20 players across all four age groups were selected from each league.

The following Placer United players made the All-Regional League Team for NorCal:

  • Kiana Faucette
  • Samantha Liaty
  • Lucy Newlin
  • Angela Shannon
  • Stella Grace Tamayo

ECNL All-Regional League – NorCal – Click here for full team

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About the ECNL:
The ECNL is the nation’s leading youth soccer development platform. The ECNL respects and celebrates the unique individuality of every youth soccer player and club, supporting and enabling them to unleash their unfettered passion and fierce tenacity in striving to achieve their potential.

The ECNL mission to Raise the Game is a total commitment to create the best possible environment for players, coaches, referees and administrators, with a determination to constantly question convention and challenge the status quo in youth sports.

The ECNL Commitment:
We will lead, set our eyes on new horizons, and pursue them relentlessly. Born out of the belief in a better way. Continued in the ever-evolving pursuit of excellence.

 

ECNL Girls Launches Northern Cal Conference, Welcomes Two New Clubs


ECNL Contact: Jacob Born; 314-440-0644
Press Contact: Erica Bates; 917-559-4984

RICHMOND, Va. (April 25, 2022) – Today ECNL Girls announced a conference realignment in the west to create the new Northern Cal Conference, a brand-new conference for 10 clubs to kick off in the 2022-23 season. The Northern Cal Conference will be the home for eight northern California clubs currently playing in the Northwest Conference: Davis Legacy, De Anza Force, Marin FC, Mustang SC, MVLA, Pleasanton Rage, San Juan SC and Santa Rosa United.

In addition, the Northern Cal will welcome Bay Area Surf and Placer United as new clubs into the ECNL Girls for the 2022-23 season, rewarding both clubs’ performances in the ECNL Regional League – NorCal this year.

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Bay Area Surf and Placer United to the ECNL Girls platform for the 2022-23 season and the creation of the Northern Cal Conference,” said Jen Winnagle,

ECNL COO and Girls Commissioner. “This new conference will provide fantastic games with much-reduced travel for all teams, allowing an even better experience for players to develop to their full potential. The creation of a new conference recognizes the depth of talent in the region, and the addition of Bay Area Surf and Placer United increases the competition level across the board.”

Bay Area Surf
Sunnyvale, CA

  • Founded in 2017; joined the Surf brand in 2021
  • More than 35 club graduates playing collegiate soccer
  • Multiple players in various USYNT pools from U15-U19

“Bay Area Surf is extremely excited to be invited as a new member club in Girls ECNL,” said Heath Piper, Executive Academy Director. “Our goal has always been to look for the best competition for our program locally and nationally. The ECNL platform has proven over the years to be the top girls league in the country and it’s an honor for our program to have been selected to represent the ECNL brand. We look forward to the competition and the opportunities for our players to showcase their talent at the highest level each week. We know that this will only further enhance their opportunities collegiately and beyond.”

Placer United
Rocklin, CA

  • Founded: 1982
  • Placer United Indoor Training Facility is the largest indoor training facility for youth soccer in the Sacramento area
  • More than 400 alumni playing collegiate soccer since 2010

“We are absolutely delighted to be accepted into the ECNL Girls platform,” said Ron Benjamin, Director of Coaching. “This acceptance is a reward for years upon years of hard work and dedication, trying to make our club one of the prominent youth soccer organizations in northern California. We look forward to playing in the ECNL competition and enhancing our college recruitment process and opening up even more avenues for our female athletes.”

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About the ECNL
The ECNL is the nation’s leading youth soccer development platform. The ECNL respects and celebrates the unique individuality of every youth soccer player and club, supporting and enabling them to unleash their unfettered passion and fierce tenacity in striving to achieve their potential.

The ECNL’s mission to Raise the Game is a total commitment to create the best possible environment for players, coaches, referees and administrators, with a determination to constantly question convention and challenge the status quo in youth sports.

The ECNL Commitment
We will lead, set our eyes on new horizons, and pursue them relentlessly. Born out of the belief in a better way. Continued in the ever-evolving pursuit of excellence.

www.TheECNL.com

Girls FB: /ECNLGirls | Girls IG: @ECNLGirls | Girls TW: @ECNLGirls

Los Angeles FC Acquires Defender Ryan Hollingshead from Dallas FC

Thursday, February 10, 2022
by LAFC Communications

LAFC today announced the Club has acquired defender Ryan Hollingshead from FC Dallas in exchange for defender Marco Farfan.

Hollingshead, 30, joins LAFC after spending the past eight seasons with FC Dallas, where he made 193 regular season appearances in 149 starts. A veteran defender, Hollingshead has scored a total of 18 regular season goals and added 15 assists in 13,433 MLS minutes. The California native has made 11 MLS Cup Playoff appearances and played six times in the Concacaf Champions League.

“Ryan is known not only known as one of the most versatile and valuable players in MLS but also as a great person and leader,” LAFC Co-President & General Manager John Thorrington said. “For these reasons, we are incredibly excited to welcome Ryan, his wife Taylor, and their family to LAFC. We also appreciate what Marco has meant to the club during his time here, which makes the moment bittersweet for us. He is a class act both on and off the field and we wish him all the best in Dallas.”

The 2017 MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year, Hollingshead was originally drafted by FC Dallas in the second round of the 2013 MLS Super Draft and made his MLS and professional debut vs. San Jose on May 31, 2014.

In 2016, Hollingshead made 29 regular season appearances (22 starts) and helped Dallas earn the 2016 Supporter’s Shield and a Western Conference Championship, as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title.

A native of Granite Bay, CA, Hollingshead starred at UCLA from 2009-2012, where he made 69 starts and 81 appearances, scoring 16 goals and recording 21 assists. With the Bruins he was named NSCAA Second-Team All American Selection, Pac-12 Player of the Year and First-team All-Pac 12 Selection, while also earning First-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors.

Farfan leaves LAFC after one season in which he played in 29 matches (21 starts), tallying over 1,754 minutes in 2021.

VITALS

Name: Ryan Hollingshead
Position: Defender
Born: 4/16/1991
Age: 30
Height: 6-2
Weight: 185
Birthplace: Granite Bay, Ca
Citizenship: USA
Last Club: FC Dallas

 

 

2007G NPL1 Have Huge Showing in San Diego Surf Cup

The Placer United 2007 Girls NPL1 team had a huge showing in the Prestigious San Diego Surf Cup Tournament this past weekend. Competing in Super Black division (second bracket), the team won the group with three wins going 3-0 and earning a birth to the semifinals. Beating impressive teams like Pateadores Academy, Rebels ECNL and Crossfire United ECNL, the girls battled in the semifinals but fell short 1-0 in the final few minutes to ISC Gunners GA. The Gunners would win the final 3-0. The girls came so close. What an impressive showing in an elite tournament in a very high and difficult bracket. Congrats to Todd DeCarlo and the entire Placer United 07 girls team!

Ripon’s Scholten Inks with Dream School University of San Diego

Manteca/Ripon Bulletin
by: Jonamar Jacinto
Published: May 18, 2021

Ripon High senior Ariana Scholten fantasized about her future as she participated in a soccer camp at the scenic campus of University of San Diego during her sophomore year.

“Well, if you’ve ever seen the campus it’s gorgeous,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’d like to play here one day.’”

She’ll soon get the chance.

The Indians’ attacking midfielder/forward has signed with the Toreros of the West Coast Conference, where she is sure to see some top NCAA Division I competition including national power Santa Clara. Although her role is not yet set in stone, Scholten envisions herself as a striker. Fourth-year coach Louise Lieberman could use a player with a nose for the goal after USD scored just three goals while finishing 1-7-1 this past season.

Scholten looks forward to working for a coach who has served as an assistant for the U.S. Soccer Under-23 women’s team and UCLA. San Diego won eight games in each of its first three seasons under Lieberman.

Scholten hasn’t had a chance to visit the campus since that camp two years ago, but it wasn’t necessary to convince her to commit.

“It’s a beautiful school, but the one thing that really attracted me the most was Lou and her coaching staff,” she said. “They’re very supportive people. They obviously want good soccer players but they look for people first. They want you to bring light to their squad and leave the school as a better player and as a better person.

“They really care about your school, your values and your soccer life. I really appreciate that about them.”

Her plan is to major in pre-health science and further her studies in occupational or physical therapy. She’ll also minor in marine biology.

Since college coaches have been unable to scout prospects in person, Scholten worked with her club coach, Ron Benjamin of Placer United, to film training videos and send them out.

“Coach Lou reached out to me and said, ‘I’d like to talk to you about a future at San Diego,’” Scholten said. “At the time I was talking to another college but I was real happy when the opportunity with USD came up because that had been my dream school since my sophomore year.”

San Diego gets a proven winner at the club and high school levels in Scholten, who tallied 54 goals and 60 assists in her first three years at Ripon. A three-time All-Trans-Valley League selection, she led the Indians to two Sac-Joaquin Section Division V championships, two league titles and their first California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Regional final.

Scholten proved herself to be deadly on set pieces and in the run of play with powerful and laser-accurate striking on either foot. Her junior year, she focused on playmaking and racked up a team-high 26 assists.

This season, Ripon is playing an abbreviated schedule in the competitive Valley Oak League because of the coronavirus pandemic. With no postseason or league titles on the line, Scholten is glad to just have fun with her friends on the pitch.

“It’s nice to take a break from all the seriousness of comp and just enjoy yourself on the field while continuing to work on little things and perfect my play before I go to college,” Scholten said.

 

Kikanovic Makes MLS Debut in 2-0 Setback

Benji Kikanovic pictured with Coach Matt Scammacca and Placer United players

Major League Soccer (MLS) – San Jose Earthquakes News Release
May 16, 2021

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San Jose Earthquakes fell to the Portland Timbers 2-0 on Saturday night at PayPal Park. The match saw the MLS debut of Quakes forward Benji Kikanovic and the season debut of Quakes midfielder Jack Skahan.

Portland took the lead in the fifth minute when Eryk Williamson sent a through ball to Yimmi Chara, who would chip the ball up and over an onrushing JT Marcinkowski.

San Jose would come close to the equalizer in the second half when a penalty was given to the Quakes in the 61st minute, but Chris Wondolowski’s low shot was saved by the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Logan Ketterer. Portland later doubled their lead in the 74th minute when Williamson’s cross to Marvin Loria was headed home.

The Earthquakes will now prepare to play their third and final match of a three-game homestand next Saturday, May 22 vs. Sporting Kansas City, presented by Coca-Cola. The match kicks off from PayPal Park at 7:00 p.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Bay Area, KNBR 1050 and 1370 KZSF.

GAME NOTES

The Earthquakes now hold a 3-3-0 record (9 pts.) during the 2021 MLS regular season and are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference.

San Jose earned 12 corner kicks, their most in a single match since July 15, 2020 (22).

The Quakes took 20 shots, their most in a single match since July 15, 2020 (30).

San Jose committed just five fouls, their fewest in a match since Sept. 25, 2019 (5).

Forward Benji Kikanovic made his MLS debut, entering as a substitute in the 63rd minute.

Midfielder Jack Skahan made his first appearance of the season and second of his MLS career, entering as a substitute in the 66th minute.

MLS Regular Season

San Jose Earthquakes 0 – 2 Portland Timbers

May 15, 2021 – PayPal Park in San Jose, Calif.

Scoring Summary: POR – Yimmi Chara (Eryk Williamson) 5; POR – Marvin Loria (Eryk Williamson, Felipe Mora) 74.

Misconduct Summary: POR – Bill Tuiloma (caution) 25; POR – Dario Zuparic (caution) 42; SJ – Chris Wondolowski (caution) 45+3.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES: JT Marcinkowski; Paul Marie (Shea Salinas 58), Oswaldo Alanis, Florian Jungwirth (Chris Wondolowski 58), Luciano Abecasis; Carlos Fierro, Eric Remedi, Jackson Yueill; Carlos Fierro (Benji Kikanovic 63), Cristian Espinoza (Chofis 58), Andres Rios (Jack Skahan 66); Cade Cowell.

Substitutes not used: Tanner Beason, Judson, Tommy Thompson, Daniel Vega.

SHOTS: 20; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 5; CORNER KICKS: 12.

PORTLAND TIMBERS: Logan Ketterer; Claudio Bravo, Dario Zuparic, Bill Tuiloma, Pablo Bonilla (Josecarlos Van Rankin 82); Andy Polo (Renzo Zambrano 72), Eryk Williamson, Yimmi Chara, Marvin Loria (Zachery McGraw 82); Felipe Mora (Diego Valeri 82), Jeremy Ebobisse (Dairon Asprilla 69).

Substitutes not used: Blake Bodily, Hunter Sulte.

SHOTS: 18, SHOTS ON GOAL: 5; FOULS: 10; CORNER KICKS: 5.

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES HEAD COACH MATIAS ALMEYDA

On improving the team’s offense:

“I think football is simple. If you score goals and they don’t, you win. If you concede and they don’t, you lose. Today’s match was similar to our previous match. We were able to create opportunities from headers, a penalty and rebounds we could not get to. The opponents had created two dangerous chances and they converted, and we cannot afford mistakes against these teams. We will keep working to capitalize on the chances we are getting.”

On giving minutes to younger players:

“It brings me pleasure to allow young players to make their debut. It’s not easy to come on in these types of games. Sometimes because of nerves and trying to be perfect, not everything goes right. This is the team we have, with many young players. The day they all have 40 appearances in the first division, and they remain in this league, with this system and style of play, we will become more competitive.”

On the team’s approach to penalty kicks:

“We practice them. I think if anyone had to be selected to take penalties, it would be the league and this club’s all-time leader in goals. The penalty was well taken. The goalkeeper stretched his arm and got to the post. I won’t just take away this penalty, I will take away the chances we created. Apart from the penalty, we were missing the finishing touches.”

SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ESPINOZA

On the team’s finishing:

“We need to be more attentive in the final stretch where we really need to make a difference. The goals result from our ability to finish them. We have been great in that sense but in our last two matches, we were unlucky in our finishing. Other times, we cannot capitalize because of the virtues in the opponent. We will keep working and move forward. We have important upcoming matches and now is not the time to give up.”

On creating more dangerous chances:

“I think today’s match was difficult for everyone, especially the attackers. The opponent just waited in their area, defended throughout the entire match and created counterattacks, and that is how they scored. Personally, I don’t feel that neither my teammates nor I performed badly. When you face an opponent with practically 11 players in their own half, it becomes difficult to find space. We have to find a way to generate attacking plays. In this match, the opponent stayed in their area and waited for our mistakes to launch a counter.”

 

Nevada Union Alumna Cayce Shaw Balances Pursuit of PhD with new Soccer Opportunity

At peace on the pitch: Nevada Union alumna Cayce Shaw balances pursuit of Ph.D. with new soccer opportunity

The Union
Sports | May 7, 2021
by Walter Ford  

Cayce Shaw, a 2015 Nevada Union graduate, is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco.

When Cayce Shaw is playing soccer, everything else in her life fades into the background.

“I love playing,” said Shaw. “It’s something that when I step on the field, everything else goes away.”

For Shaw, a 2015 Nevada Union graduate, soccer is a sport she has dedicated herself to since she was a child. And, through the years, soccer has reciprocated with life lessons, opportunities and mental tranquility.

Shaw, 24, first started playing soccer when she was in second grade. At first it was just a fun way to spend time with her friends. She soon discovered she had a knack for the game and joined a club team, the Placer United. At the high school level, the talented footballer was a four-year varsity player for the Miners. She was a team captain in her junior and senior seasons, and was named to the All-Sierra Foothill League team twice.

“I just really grew to love it and wanted to pursue it in college,” she said. “Having leadership roles and being around such a good community really inspired my passion to keep playing.”

Shaw’s prowess on the pitch, as well as the classroom, landed her at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she majored in bio chemistry and played four years on the women’s soccer team.

Cayce Shaw, a 2015 Nevada Union graduate, played center-forward for the UC Santa Cruz women’s soccer team, and across her four years with the Banana Slugs she started 56 games, scored 18 goals and had eight assists.

“It was a really good fit academically and athletically,” she said.

Shaw played center-forward for the Banana Slugs, and across her four years with the team she started 56 games, scored 18 goals and had eight assists. During her senior season, she led the team with eight goals and was named the 2018 Offensive Player of the Year  among Division III independent teams. The Banana Slugs reached the NCAA Division III playoffs in three of the four years Shaw was on the team.

ACADEMIA

After her time at UC Santa Cruz concluded, Shaw made the move to San Francisco to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco. Shaw’s studies focus on Alzheimer’s disease, and more specifically the differences between how males and females are affected by the disease.

“I love teaching and would love to be in academia,” Shaw said of her career pursuits. “Hopefully, be a professor and do my own research. Have some kind of research lab and also teach courses.”

Shaw said she truly enjoys the work she’s doing at UC San Francisco, but it does come with its fair share of stress.

“I thought that I was done with soccer once I graduated (UC Santa Cruz), but I started grad school and was feeling a lot of pressure and needed a way to try and help me cope,” Shaw said. “I found this group, the Nighthawks, which is a bunch of former college players. It’s a really good community of other people in the city I can play soccer with, and I’ve found that it’s a really healthy way to manage my stress.”

Shaw signed with the San Francisco Nighthawks Women’s Soccer Club in January 2020, but COVID-19 forced the season to be canceled. The club plans to be back on the pitch for the 2021 summer season, though, and Shaw is looking forward to competing once again.

“I feel so lucky that I was able to find this group in San Francisco,” Shaw said. “When I finished in college I felt like something was missing in my life. It was such a big part of my identity. … So I feel pretty lucky that I found the Nighthawks and was able to make the team and get signed (to the roster).”

At its highest level, the Nighthawks compete in the Women’s Premier Soccer League, which is the second tier of women’s professional soccer in the United States and Canada. The club also has teams that compete in the Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League. Shaw is currently listed as a member of the club’s GGWSL First Division team.

As for handling the rigors of her academic pursuits while playing soccer at a high level, Shaw said it’s made easier when you love what you do.

“Finding something that brings you a lot of joy is helpful,” she said. “Whether it’s your career or the sport that you’re playing, it shouldn’t ever feel like it’s a task. I genuinely love the academics that I’m doing as well as playing soccer, so I feel like that joy has made me want to put in the extra hours.”

The summer season for the Nighthawks is set to start May 29, said Shaw.

“I’m excited for summer to really prove myself,” she said. “And, hopefully, get more time on the field.”