Former SAU women’s soccer standout, Bethany Balcer, named to U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team
Story contributed by Spring Arbor (Mich.) Athletics
SPRING ARBOR, Mich. – Former Spring Arbor University women’s soccer standout Bethany Balcer (Hudsonville, MI / Unity Christian) will get a chance to play for her country next week after being called-up to the United States U-23 Women’s National Team.
Balcer and two of her teammates from Reign FC, a professional soccer team in the National Women's Soccer League, will travel to England for the 2019 Nordic Tournament. There, the USA will face Norway on Aug. 28, England on Aug. 30, and finish with Sweden on Sept. 2. All the matches will be played at Loughborough University in Loughborough, England.
The U.S. U-23 team is comprised of a 23-player roster. Joining Balcer will be 15 other NWSL players, including Reign FC teammates, goalkeeper Casey Murphy and defender Schuler DeBree. They are joined by five players who currently play in Europe and two of the top college players in the country.
Balcer joined Reign FC on April 17, 2019, as an undrafted rookie. The forward has scored three goals and added an assist in 1,215 minutes in her first year as a professional player. The selection to the U-23s is Balcer’s first opportunity to represent her country.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to represent the stars and stripes. It’s a great opportunity for me developmentally and I couldn’t be more excited for it,” said Balcer. “It’s unbelievable to me all the doors God has opened for me, and I’m incredibly grateful to be given this opportunity. I’m looking forward to growing as a player through this experience and can’t wait to continue to move forward.”
At Spring Arbor, Balcer shattered every offensive record possible over her four years. The prolific attacker finished her career with 129 goals, which more than doubled the previous record of 64, and finds her fifth all-time on the NAIA career goals list. She led the Cougars to four straight NAIA national semifinal appearances, which included two national titles in 2015 and 2017, as well as a national runner-up finish in 2016.
Balcer was the first-ever freshman to receive NAIA National Player of the Year accolades, and would go on to receive the award three times – also an NAIA first.
“We are so excited for, and proud of Bethany,” said SAU head coach Jason Crist. “For her to for fulfill a lifelong dream and play competitive soccer with the US crest on her jersey is an amazing accomplishment. Bethany has seized every opportunity put in front of her, and we are excited to support her in this new and exciting adventure.”