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USL unveils 2023 pre-professional business awards

By Staff, 12/01/23, 12:40PM EST


Indy Eleven and Vermont Green FC named pre-pro Organizations of the year

The United Soccer League today announced its 2023 pre-professional end of year business awards, honoring exemplary clubs and front office executives that delivered for their clubs and their communities throughout the past season across the USL W League and League Two.  

USL W League

Organization of the Year - Indy Eleven

2023 USL W League Champions Indy Eleven has been named Organization of the Year after an incredible season on and off the field. On the field, the Girls in Blue claimed the W League Final after Alia Martin scored on over-the-head game-winner in extra time in front of a sellout crowd at Michael A. Carroll Stadium, which served as the largest crowd to watch a women’s soccer match in the state of Indiana’s history. Indy Eleven averaged nearly 2,300 fans at Grand Park throughout the regular season.  

New Organization of the Year - Oakland Soul SC

With the establishment of the NorCal Division for the 2023 season, the W League welcomed Oakland Soul SC, which has been named New Organization of the Year. Soul launched in 2023 as a purpose-driven soccer club, providing not only a high-quality training environment but also protecting and empowering players so they are nourished both physically and mentally. Oakland also recorded consistent sell-outs in its inaugural season. 

USL W League Executive of the Year - Ryan Maquiñana

SF Glens SC had an unforgettable inaugural season in the W League, earning the Western Conference title and nearly beating out Indy Eleven on the road for a trip to the Final. A large part of the team’s swift success was Ryan Maquiñana, the club’s VP of Operations and Communications. The Glens saw consistent media coverage in their local and surrounding markets and also were a league leader in operational compliance. Ryan's diligent attention to detail on both the operations side and communications side has created a lasting impact on the club. 

USL League Two

Organization of the Year – Vermont Green FC 

It was another productive campaign in the Northeast Division, which saw the Green just miss out on a League Two Playoffs spot with a 10-3-1 record. It was what Vermont achieved off the field that brings this award to the club, however. The Green’s commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and becoming a net zero emission club has sparked intrigue and recognition across the world. The club was nominated for a BBC Green Sport Award in 2023 as their quest for environmental justice entered its second season on the pitch. The Green have also become one with the Burlington, Vermont community and have made it their mission to care for the planet while playing inspiring soccer. 

New Organization of the Year – Sarasota Paradise 

The Paradise, led by Marcus Walfridson, made an instant impact on the Sarasota community in their first season in League Two. An instantly recognizable identity, an exciting style of play, and a strong local presence were the hallmarks of this club in 2023. They finished with a 5-5-2 record, good for fourth in the South Florida Division, and featured top performer Hosei Kijima on the pitch. Their season concluded with a season-high crowd of 1,083 people, carrying strong momentum into the 2024 campaign. 

Executive of the Year – Mike Vest, Lionsbridge FC 

Vest led Lionsbridge to another extremely successful season, winning the Chesapeake Division and advancing all the way to the League Two Final in Seattle. The Bridge had a roster largely comprised of English players and exciting young talent like University of Kentucky forward Isaiah Chisolm. Vest was a leader in engineering the club’s best season yet, inspiring fervent local support that packs its Newport News venue. His diligent work in both running and publicizing Lionsbridge FC has created a strong foundation for continued success for many years. 

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