Photos by Ryan Bartholomew
United Women’s Soccer announced its East Conference award winners on Thursday, with FC Buffalo conference champions well-represented in the individual and team sections.
Club captain Carissima Cutrona was named East Conference Offensive Player of the Year, giving her a spot on the UWS East Best XI. She was joined there by center back Tess Ford and attacking teammate Djeynaba “DJ” Thiam. Star goalkeeper Emily Kelly was tabbed as UWS East Second XI.
Head coach Nikki Bartholomew and assistant coach Gabrielle Wilson again put together an incredible roster and game plan for the campaign, bagging Bartholomew her second-straight East Conference Coach of the Year honors in as many seasons.
The club is intensely proud of our individual honorees as well as their teammates and all of our staff members. It takes an entire club to build a champion and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in two seasons. Now we’re back at work looking to build a team capable of challenging for our conference and league.
Getting to know our UWS East Conference award winners
Carissima Cutrona (Williamsville South / University at Buffalo alum): Now honored five times in UWS for conference play including first team East in her two seasons with FCB, our captain and striker scored nine goals and chipped in seven assists. She has transferred to Norwegian professional side Medkila IL and will debut soon!
Tess Ford (Williamsville East / University at Buffalo senior): A steady, athletic center back with the ability to spray long passes around the field, Tess is also an attacking threat whose interception and assist set up DJ Thiam’s East-clinching goal.
Djeynaba “DJ” Thiam (Edison CTHS / Niagara University senior): DJ’s intelligent hold-up play combines with creative turns and use of her great speed and frame to make her a threat every time she’s around the ball. An unselfish player with good finishing skills, DJ is dangerous.
Emily Kelly (Wilson / University at Buffalo senior): The presence of a great goalkeeper can be overlooked on a successful attacking team but Emily is always in position to make difficult saves look easy and improbable saves for the highlight reels. Combined with Jessica Jones to deliver clean sheets and memorable wins.
Nikki Bartholomew (Lancaster / University at Buffalo) and Gabrielle Wilson (Tonawanda / Niagara University): Our coaching staff provides stability, maturity, and ingenuity, and we’re deeply proud of the job Nikki and Gabe do as the outward-facing guides of our women’s team. We could hardly be more fortunate to have them in blue and gold.