UCLA legend Teagan Micah returns to the W-League with Melbourne Victory

(Photo Credit: Don Liebig/ASUCLA)

Following a storied four years at UCLA in which she established herself as one of the program’s greats, Teagan Micah has quickly moved back into the W-League ranks, inking a deal with Melbourne Victory. Micah’s arrival strengthens an already-strong goalkeeping corps for Victory, with Casey Dumont in outstanding form and Melissa Maizels a capable backup.

Fresh off a second College Cup appearance as UCLA reached the semi-finals of the NCAA Tournament, Micah once again demonstrated her prowess as one of the top goalkeepers in the college ranks to round out an outstanding career. 11 clean sheets in 19 appearances saw Micah set a career-high for shutouts in a season, having made nine in each of her first two seasons and eight in 2018. With 243 career saves and just 68 goals conceded in 83 appearances, Micah finished her time at UCLA conceding just 0.82 goals per game whilst maintaining a save percentage of 78.1%.

Micah’s college career is littered with highlights, including a College Cup semi-final shootout victory over Duke in 2017 and a quite stunning performance against local rivals USC in a 3-2 overtime victory on the final day of conference play in the same season as UCLA eventually reached the championship game before falling to Beattie Goad and Stanford. On a personal level, Micah’s eight Pac-12 Goalkeeper of the Week awards are the most in the history of the honour, which was first awarded in 2014.

The former Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper also earned a spot with the Matildas on multiple occasions, firstly as an emergency call-up for the 2017 Tournament of Nations before returning to the squad in April 2019. Micah was also named as one of three goalkeepers in the Matildas World Cup squad, but continues to await her first cap for the senior national team.

With just five appearances at W-League level for Western Sydney prior to leaving for UCLA, Micah will be hoping to quickly add to that number as she battles Dumont for the starting spot between the sticks. Having been named to this week’s squad the UCLA legend has the chance to make her debut for Victory against her former club, with the reigning premiers hosting Brisbane Roar at 10:30am on Saturday morning.

Micah’s arrival adds to a burgeoning contingent of former NCAA Division I players in the W-League, joining former Florida International star Amy Jackson at the Victory. Adelaide United quartet Dylan Holmes, Isabel Hodgson, Laura Johns, and Kahlia Hogg all have Division I experience, as do Canberra United’s Rebekah Horsey, Melbourne City’s Aivi Luik, Brisbane Roar’s Isobel Dalton, and Western Sydney Wanderers’ Alexandra Huynh.

College Matildas W-League Preview

(Photo: The Southern Conference)

Adelaide United is certainly the place to look for former NCAA Division I players in the W-League in 2019/20, with no less than four members of the Reds having played in college. Usual suspects Alexandra Huynh and Amy Jackson are back for another season in the W-League, whilst former Houston midfielder Rebekah Horsey finally gets a crack at the bigtime, having signed with Canberra United.

Isabel Hodgson | Adelaide United

College Career: East Tennessee State (2015-18)

Isabel Hodgson may have spent four years at East Tennessee State, but the Buccaneers legend was never out of an Adelaide United jersey for too long, even spending one college off-season playing for the Reds in 2015/16. An interrupted stint with the Reds last season saw Hodgson make seven appearances and score one goal before returning to Johnson City to complete her degree, but the dynamic attacker now returns for a first full W-League campaign since 2014/15. Hodgson also finds herself in good scoring form of late, banging home eight goals in nine NPLW appearances with Adelaide City on the way to securing grand final success.

Kahlia Hogg | Adelaide United

College Career: Florida State (2012-13), Colorado (2014-16)

Kahlia Hogg’s 2018/19 season was blighted by injury, but Adelaide United coach Ivan Karlovic nonetheless brought the versatile wide player back into the fold for 2019/20. Having played for Canberra United before leaving for college and Western Sydney Wanderers upon her return, Adelaide is Hogg’s third W-League club, and it may also be the place at which the former Florida State and Colorado winger gets her chance to truly shine. Whether deployed in the backline or further up the pitch, Hogg appears primed for a breakout season in the W-League after appearing 24 times for Illawarra Stingrays in NPL New South Wales this season.

Dylan Holmes | Adelaide United

College Career: Colgate (2015)

It’s fair to say that Dylan Holmes’ year at Colgate wasn’t the most enjoyable or successful time, but since returning to Adelaide, the midfielder has flourished. Holmes picked up the NPL South Australia Coaches’ Player of the Year after a fantastic season for Adelaide City in which the club secured the league and grand final double. Having played 12 games for Adelaide United in 2018/19, Holmes returns for her third W-League season as one of four Aussies to have played in college in the Reds squad. Having started every game in 2018/19, Holmes shapes as an integral player as Adelaide United looks to atone for that campaign’s late-season jitters which eventually cost them a first finals berth.

Laura Johns | Adelaide United

College Career: Massachusetts (2013-16)

A midfielder throughout her college days at Massachusetts, Laura Johns found herself deployed at fullback for much of the 2018/19 W-League season, performing admirably throughout the campaign. Like most of this year’s players, Johns featured for the Reds prior to playing in college, making six appearances in 2012/13 before returning to play 20 more games across the last two seasons. Having made 11 starts in the 2018/19, Johns is firmly entrenched as a member of the Adelaide United squad, emerging as a wide attacking threat whilst capably handling her defensive duties. Johns also enjoyed an outstanding season in NPL South Australia this season, finishing in a tie for fifth in Player of the Year voting with former Kennesaw State defender Nicole Calder.

Isobel Dalton | Brisbane Roar

College Career: Colorado (2016-18)

A Brisbane Roar player even before leaving for college, Isobel Dalton returns home in 2019 after three seasons at Colorado and a brief spell at Nottingham Forest in the English FA Women’s National League North. Despite not receiving a lot of playing time at Colorado as part of a stacked midfield unit, Dalton showed her class on a number of occasions when given the opportunity on a Colorado team that has gained a solid footing in the Pac-12 over the last few seasons. Now, the English-born Queenslander returns home to shore up the Brisbane Roar midfield alongside the likes of Matildas duo Katrina Gorry and Elise Kellond-Knight, and American import Celeste Boureille.

Rebekah Horsey | Canberra United

College Career: Houston (2012-13)

It’s not often that a player returns from college and waits six years to make their W-League debut, but that is exactly how the career of Queenslander Rebekah Horsey has panned out. An integral part of the Lions FC side that completed a Premiership-Championship double in NPL Queensland this year, Horsey was outstanding in the midfield of a team that scored 108 goals whilst giving up just 22 in 24 regular season games. A defensive presence first and foremost, Horsey will likely be tasked with shielding the Canberra United back four as the team in green looks to make a return to the finals for the first time since finishing top of the table in 2016/17.

Amy Jackson | Melbourne Victory

College Career: Florida International (2007-09)

Anyone who’s watched the W-League for a significant period of time already knows what Amy Jackson brings to the table. A versatile midfielder who has also been deployed in defence during her time with both Melbourne clubs, Jackson returns to Victory after spending the last four seasons with crosstown rivals Melbourne City. A three-time W-League champion with Melbourne City, Jackson now returns to her original club to help them attempt to build on last season’s premiership success. Jackson is also on the cusp of becoming a member of the vaunted 100-game club, having made 90 appearances in the W-League to this point. One of the league’s most experienced players, Jackson will provide outstanding leadership alongside the likes of English star Natasha Dowie and recently capped Matildas centre back Jenna McCormick.

Alexandra Huynh | Western Sydney Wanderers

College Career: Colorado (2013-15), Troy (2016)

To say Alexandra Huynh bleeds red and black would be an understatement, so it is little surprise to see the former Colorado and Troy defender back with Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season after not playing in the W-League in 2018/19. Since moving to Brisbane after her return from college, Huynh has spent the last two seasons as a mainstay of the Souths United defence in NPL Queensland, and even scored one of the goals of the season in 2019 with a peach of a free kick. However, Huynh’s actual job this season will be shutting down opposition attacks as a Wanderers squad that looks to be the best the club has put together in a number of seasons attempts to break their finals duck.

College Matildas to World Cup Matildas – Micah and Luik headed to France

UCLA goalkeeper Teagan Micah and former Nevada midfielder Aivi Luik will be travelling to France next month, with the pair today named to the Matildas’ squad for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup. The duo become the first players with NCAA Division I experience to represent the Matildas at a World Cup since 2007, when former San Diego State midfielder Danielle Small was selected for her second World Cup appearance.

Luik made her debut for the Matildas in 2010, four years after finishing a college career that culminated in a trip to the NCAA Tournament, but despite featuring in the Matildas’ 2010 Asian Cup winning squad and also in last year’s team that finished as runner-up, myriad circumstances had deprived the midfielder of a World Cup spot until now. A veteran of 76 W-League games and 21 caps for the Matildas as well as vast experience overseas, the 34-year-old will be one of the oldest debutants in the history of the competition should she take to the pitch, and will also be the second-oldest player in the squad after Lisa De Vanna. Despite her lack of World Cup experience, Luik has plenty of big games under her belt at college, W-League, European, and international level, and there is no doubting that the commanding midfielder will be right at home on the big stage in France.

Micah on the other hand, is still in the early stages of her career, with a year of eligibility at UCLA still up her sleeve following the World Cup. Having struggled to secure a starting berth in the W-League at Brisbane Roar and Western Sydney Wanderers, Micah’s move to UCLA precipitated a meteoric rise. All but ever-present between the sticks for the Bruins for the last three seasons, Micah helped the Bruins to a College Cup championship game berth in 2017, finishing as national runner-up. Emerging as one of the top goalkeepers in the college ranks, Micah forced her way into calculations, being selected in the squad for the recent friendly against the United States, having also received an emergency call-up to the Tournament of Nations in 2017. Whilst the goalkeeping pecking order is well and truly established with Lydia Williams and Mackenzie Arnold as the top two choices, at the very worst this will undoubtedly be a top-shelf learning experience for Micah as she looks to put together a solid final season at UCLA before entering the pro ranks.

The Matildas kick off their World Cup campaign on June 9 against Italy in Valenciennes, before taking on Brazil and Jamaica in their final two group stage games. All Matildas games will be shown live on SBS and Optus Sport.

Kahlia Hogg Returns To Canberra United

Recent Colorado graduate and 2013 NCAA Tournament runner-up Kahlia Hogg has signed for W-League club Canberra United for the remainder of the 2016/17 season, returning to the club with which the fullback rose to prominence before making the move to college, and will be available for selection immediately.

Kahlia made 24 appearances for Canberra United between 2009 and 2011, chipping in a solitary goal in her time with the club prior to commencing her college career at Florida State. Opportunities were hard to come by in Tallahassee for the fullback, and although her time with the Seminoles provided Kahlia with a chance to be part of a national runner-up squad, the Young Matilda featured in just 10 games across two seasons. Kahlia then decided to transfer to Colorado after her sophomore year, teaming up with fellow Australian Alex Huynh in Boulder.

Kahlia played in 22 games in her first season at Colorado, playing in a variety of positions but finding plenty of success in a wide attacking role. Kahlia scored four goals and also chipped in four assists as Colorado caused a first round boilover in the NCAA Tournament by defeating BYU 2-0 before going down in overtime to perennial powerhouse North Carolina.

Kahlia’s first attempt at a senior season in 2015 was cut short after just six appearances due to injury, but her request for a medical redshirt was granted and 2016 was a far more productive year. Moved into a central defensive role, ironically after Alex Huynh’s transfer to Troy, Kahlia’s attacking output diminished, as was to be expected, as the defender contributed just one goal and one assist in 16 appearances. However, the Colorado defence conceded just 12 goals in Kahlia’s 16 appearances as the team punched well above its weight all season to earn another NCAA Tournament berth, where they went down 1-0 to South Carolina in the second round despite a valiant effort against one of the top sides in the country.

Whilst in the US, Kahlia spent time playing in the now-defunct USL W-League. Kahlia spent the 2012 season playing with Pali Blues, a club which at the time featured the likes of Matildas World Cup representative Servet Uzunlar, US national team player Whitney Engen, former Melbourne City player Anisa Guajardo, former Canberra United player Nikki Washington, and former Western Sydney Wanderers player Camille Levin. Unfortunately for Kahlia, the Blues were defeated on penalties by Katrina Gorry and Ottawa Fury in the championship game after conceding a 94th minute equaliser.

Kahlia also spent the 2014 season playing for Colorado Rush in a team that included the likes of Carson Pickett and Janine Beckie, and suited up for Colorado Storm for 3 games in United Women’s Soccer’s inaugural season in 2016.

Kahlia returns to Canberra United with a bevy of program and conference awards for both academic and athletic achievement, but most importantly, a degree in Mechanical Engineering in her back pocket. Canberra United fans will be fervently hoping that she can keep opposition attackers in her back pocket as she looks to help the team in green make a late charge for the title after last week’s 6-1 setback against Sydney FC.

Kahlia’s return swells the number of Australian college players playing in the W-League to no fewer than six, alongside Melbourne City pair Aivi Luik (Nevada) and Amy Jackson (Florida International), Newcastle Jets’ Liz O’Reilly (Wyoming), Melbourne Victory’s Selin Kuralay (Florida State), and Perth Glory midfielder Jaymee Gibbons (Lander).

Summer Soccer Update #7

An undefeated week for the Aussies involved also saw a couple of players amongst the goals as 5 players across three teams managed a win and two draws.

Starting in the States, and whilst Colorado Rush played twice over the weekend, racking up 6-1 and 5-1 wins over Santa Clarita and Sedona FC respectively, but Kahlia Hogg played in neither game. Also missing this weekend was Georgia Rowntree, who was absent from Sydney Uni’s 1-0 loss to NWS Koalas.

Moving onto the players that actually made the field, and Maddy Cornell and Southern Branch kept in touch with the NPLNSW Women’s 2 top four by managing a 2-2 draw with fourth-placed UNSW Lions. Meanwhile, in NPLNSW Women’s 1, Candice Sciberras played for Marconi as they also managed a 2-2 draw, against Illawarra Stingrays. The result leaves Marconi in 8th place, but now only 3 points adrift of 5th place.

The result of the round, however, definitely belonged to the Palm Beach trio of Harriet Withers, Nyomi Devine, and Ellie Papalexiou, who produced their best performance of the season as they triumphed 6-0 over Redlands. Ellie scored a goal, whilst Harriet smashed home a hat-trick to cap a brilliant day for Palm Beach.

Moving forward, and Candice Sciberras and Marconi have an incredibly tough matchup this weekend, taking on league leaders Macarthur Rams. Marconi have given the Rams problems earlier in the season, but this will still be a hard game for the side in sky blue. Staying in NPLNSW Women’s 1, Georgia Rowntree and Sydney Uni will be looking to use their game against last-placed Blacktown Spartans to their advantage and try to move closer to a top 4 spot. Blacktown unfortunately lost star striker Jenna Kingsley to an ACL injury in last Thursday’s midweek match, but the Spartans still troubled Macarthur Rams last Sunday, leading 1-0 before going down 3-1, so Sydney Uni will still need to be on top form.

Looking at NPLNSW Women’s 2, Maddy Cornell and Southern Branch take on bottom team Northern Tigers. Southern Branch have already won one of their previous encounters with the Tigers 6-0 and will be hoping to produce a similar performance on Sunday.

Up in Queensland, Palm Beach and their trio of future freshmen will be hoping to replicate this weekend’s performance against Olympic FC, whilst in the Brisbane Premier League, Amy Armistead and Souths United take on second placed Eastern Suburbs in a tough matchup.

On the other side of the Pacific, Kahlia Hogg and Colorado Rush face a solid Seattle Sounders team in their first match of the weekend, before taking on Sedona FC in their second match of the weekend. The Rush are finishing the season strongly and should pick up a win against Sedona, whilst taking points off Seattle is not out of the question. Speaking of Seattle, Anastasia McCleary and Issaquah get back on the field this week, taking on Fuerza FC before playing their two matches against local rivals AC Seattle on Friday and Tuesday.

Summer Soccer Update #6

With a range of byes and cancelled matches this week, only three players managed to get onto the field this week, but there was more than a pinch of good news for some of the players that did get to play.

Starting in the US, Anastasia McCleary and Issaquah were scheduled to play Westside Timbers, but the game was unfortunately cancelled due to a lack of available officials. Kahila Hogg’s Colorado Rush side managed an upset 2-1 win over Seattle Sounders, a result that moves Seattle within one loss of failing in their chase for top spot, but Kahlia was not named in the squad.

In Queensland, Amy Armistead and Souths United had the bye in the Brisbane Premier League this week, whilst Ellie Papalexiou, Nyomi Devine, and Harriet Withers enjoyed a league-wide week off as Palm Beach await their first second phase match of the SEQWPL season.

Moving to New South Wales, and Georgia Rowntree was unfortunately stuck on the bench yet again as Sydney Uni went down 1-0 to Macarthur Rams. Elsewhere in NPLNSW Women’s 1, Alex Huynh and Candace Sciberras were part of the Marconi side that notched up a 2-1 win over Northbridge to close the gap between the two teams to three points. Alex scored the opener for Marconi, burying the ball into the bottom corner of the net from a corner. This was Alex’s last game for Marconi this season before returning to Colorado, and her presence in the side will be hard to replace for the rest of the season.

NPLNSW Women’s 2 didn’t provide such great news, as Maddy Cornell was part of the Southern Branch team that went down 1-0 to Inter Lions, dropping her side to fifth place.

Looking forward to this week, the Palm Beach trio of Ellie Papalexiou, Harriet Withers, and Nyomi Devine face Redlands as the SEQWPL kicks off its second phase of the competition. Meanwhile, in the Brisbane Premier League, Amy Armistead and Souths United take on second placed Eastern Suburbs.

Moving to NPLNSW Women’s 1, Georgia Rowntree and Sydney Uni can jump opponents NWS Koalas for 4th place with a win, whilst Candace Sciberras and Marconi take on Illawarra Stingrays, needing a win to keep in touch with the teams chasing a finals spot. In NPLNSW Women’s 2, Maddy Cornell and Southern Branch also need a win to keep pace with the finals as they take on UNSW Lions, and a loss could see a 7 point gap wedged between themselves and 4th position.

Over in the States, Kahlia Hogg and Colorado Rush have a two game weekend, taking on Santa Clarita Blue Heat and Sedona FC Strikers in two eminently winnable games for the Rush as they try to finish the season on a high note. Meanwhile, in WPSL, Anastasia McCleary and Issaquah have this weekend off – their next game comes on July 9 against Fuerza FC before taking on AC Seattle on July 11.

Summer Soccer Update #5

It was just one of those weeks for the offseason Aussies this week. Whilst it wasn’t a bad week by any stretch, with 5 wins shared between the players, there were a couple of draws and losses that could just have easily gone in a more positive direction. Still, there’s plenty to be positive about, so let’s get started.

Starting in Queensland and the SEQWPL, Ellie Papalexiou and Palm Beach came up against a well-organised Peninsula Power team, but managed a 2-1 victory to keep them in touch with the league leaders. Meanwhile, in the Brisbane Premier League, Amy Armistead and Souths United managed a 3-1 win against Mitchelton to move away from the lower teams and within seven points of the mid-table pack.

South of the Tweed, Maddy Cornell and Southern Branch ran Central Coast Mariners Academy all the way to the final whistle in a 3-2 loss against the runaway league leaders. In a fairer world, this is not the kind of performance that would drop a team down a position, but the football world isn’t known for its fairness, and Southern Branch dropped from 4th to 5th.

Alex Huynh and Candace Sciberras were part of the Marconi Stallions side that punched above its weight in a 0-0 draw with 3rd place North West Sydney Koalas, leaving Marconi three points behind 7th placed Illawarra Stingrays but with a game in hand.

Georgia Rowntree was back on the team sheet for Sydney Uni after a prolonged forced stint on the sidelines, but remained on the bench for Sydney Uni’s 1-0 win over second placed Manly United.

Moving to the US, Anastasia McCleary and Issaquah had a two game home stand over the weekend, winning 5-1 over Eugene Timbers, before following that up with a win over Westside Timbers the next day to move back into the lead of WPSL’s Northwest Division. Meanwhile, in the USL W-League, Kahlia Hogg played the final 20 minutes for Colorado Rush, but the side went down 3-1 to LA Blues, who are still yet to drop a point in the Western Conference. This was followed by a 1-0 loss to Bay Area Breeze, a game in which Kahlia played the last 13 minutes. The weekend’s results leave the Rush in 6th place in the Western Conference as the sides turn for home.

Looking forward to this weekend, Amy Armistead and Souths United have a bye this weekend. Staying in Queensland, the SEQWPL split in two for its second phase of competition, and Ellie Papalexiou and Palm Beach will play in the top section, but have a week off this week before starting next week against Redlands.

Moving to NSW, Georgia Rowntree and Sydney Uni take on league leaders Macarthur Rams in NPLNSW1. The Rams have slipped up a couple of times in the last few weeks, but got back on track with a 1-0 win last week, and Sydney Uni will need to be at their best to keep pace with Macarthur. The pairing of Alex Huynh and Candace Sciberras and their Marconi side have a two-game week this week, taking on FNSW Institute tomorrow night at Sydney Olympic Park Athletic Centre, before taking on Northbridge at home on Sunday. Meanwhile, in NPLNSW2, Maddy Cornell and Southern Branch take on 3rd placed Inter Lions on Sunday in a match that could see Southern move ahead of the Lions due to a vastly superior goal difference.

Over in the States, Kahlia Hogg and Colorado Rush have a tough matchup against Seattle Sounders Women on Friday night (Seattle time), who currently sit third in the Western Conference. The Rush may be out of playoff contention, but they have the potential to be of major nuisance value to the teams chasing a playoff berth. Meanwhile, in WPSL, Anastasia McCleary and Issaquah will look to make it three wins on the trot as they play Westside Timbers, the same team they hosted in their last start win. A win for Westside would see them jump Issaquah for first place, but a win for Issaquah would see them potentially open up a six point gap at the top, although third placed AC Seattle have a game in hand.