NWPL Players of the Week stepped up to meet their challenges

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BREMERTON, WA— The Northwest Premier League (NWPL) today announces its first Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week for the 2017 season. Both of the players honored this week were put into challenging situations. Both came through for their teams and played crucial roles in their victories.

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Bella Brown converts a penalty kick for her second goal on Sunday. (OlyPhotos)

OFFENSE – BELLA BROWN (Twin City Union)

The Union were in need of a spark in Sunday’s match against Yakima United at Tiger Stadium in Centralia. They got it in the form of Black Hills High School’s (Junior) Bella Brown. “Bella was subbed in as a tactical change to try and increase the speed of play in the mid field both offensively and defensively,” says Union Head Coach Kyle Jones. “She changed the game immediately and continued to be a threat until the final whistle.”

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Brown (who plays for Blackhills FC in club soccer) scored two goals in the Union’s 4-2 win. In the first one “Bella closed on a loose ball in the midfield and beat the back line on the dribble,” Jones describes. “She struck the ball from just outside the 18 and it knuckled past the goalkeeper to put us up 2-1 in the 34th minute.

Brown’s second goal was a penalty kick conversion in the 78th minute.  “Bella intercepted a pass, beat the midfielder on the dribble, and then combined on a central wall pass drawing a foul in the box. She immediately got up and headed to the PK spot and hit the side net to finish what she started and seal the win. The confidence to want the PK in that situation shows a lot about the character that Bella has.”

“She had two goals and changed the game with her creativity, speed of play, and presence. Bella is always working on improving and playing at a high level.”

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Somewhere in the crowd: the yellow shirt you see is worn by Maria Reyes. The midfielder jumped in to play 90 minutes in goal for Seattle on Sunday. Her team won 2-1. (Stars photo)

DEFENSE – MARIA REYES (Seattle Stars)

When Maria Reyes got up on Sunday morning she knew she would be involved in an NWPL soccer match for Seattle Stars FC. What she didn’t know yet was how…and where.

“When our normal goalkeeper was suddenly not available, Maria, a midfielder, volunteered to hop in goal for us and guided us to victory while making a couple of crucial saves. It was a true team-player performance for someone we had to bring goalie gloves to the game for,” says Stars Head Coach Chris Wells.

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Midfielder Maria Reyes. (Stars photo)

For Stars owner Margarito Vasquez it was a moment to relish. Reyes has been on his “Sunday team” for over four years. Now he watched as a player he has given opportunities to give some back to his first team. “Maria was willing to take on the challenge, and we are proud of her for that, and for her performance which helped our team out in a surprise situation,” Vasquez says.

Reyes organized the Stars defense throughout against the Olympic Force and surrendered just a 65th-minute free kick goal. Seattle won the match 2-1.

Maybe she should hang on to those gloves.

About the Northwest Premier League Players of the Week Honors

The Northwest Premier League will honor an offensive and defensive standout each week of the regular season. The league encourages nominees from head coaches. A panel of 3 NWPL staff members vote on the honors. The players who are honored receive a “NWPL Player of the Week” scarf. 

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