New Jersey Youth Soccer will host its 2019 NJYS Awards Dinner Presented by RWJBarnabas Health on Friday, February 1, with a very special guest on hand to deliver the keynote address. Former New Jersey ODP, U.S. Women’s National Team and current professional player Yael Averbuch will handle those honors for the event, which will take place at the Pines Manor in Edison, N.J.
“I would attend the annual NJYS Awards Dinner as a youth player and always looked forward to the event as a nice way to celebrate soccer in New Jersey each year,” said Averbuch. “Having played ODP growing up and now professionally for 10 years all over the world, I can honestly say that I appreciate the soccer community in New Jersey even more. There is something truly special about player development and the approach to the game here, and I am so fortunate to have come up within the NJYS system and now to reconnect with the New Jersey soccer community at this year’s Award Dinner.”
After playing in the New Jersey ODP and NJYS system as a youth player, Averbuch proceeded to have one of the most prolific college careers ever at the University of North Carolina. The Montclair native won two NCAA National Championships, made an NCAA record 105 consecutive starts and scored the fastest goal in women’s collegiate soccer history before having her number 17 jersey retired after her senior season.
Averbuch then became the first-ever draft pick of her home state club, Sky Blue FC, winning the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Championship in her rookie season. She won a second WPS Championship two years later with the Western New York Flash. After playing overseas, she returned stateside to play in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and won a third professional crown with FC Kansas City in 2015. Internationally, Averbuch competed for the U.S. Women’s National Team at every level of the youth program before playing with the senior side from 2007 to 2011. She has also proven to be a great leader off the field, currently serving as the union president for the NWSL Players Association.
“We are so fortunate that Yael will continue the recent tradition of world class New Jersey women delivering the keynote address,” said Evelyn Gill, NJYS President. “In recent years, we have been lucky to have Jill Loyden, Christie Rampone and Carli Lloyd highlight this event. In a year that we prepare to support our Women’s National Team towards a successful FIFA World Cup, we know Yael will help make this Awards Dinner one that the players, coaches, volunteers, award winners and other special guests won’t soon forget.”
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