In recognition of their hard work, dedication, and persistence, Sky Blue FC rookies Evelyne Viens and Kaleigh Riehl have both been nominated for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year award. The award was established in 1991 with the purpose of validating the effort put into being a student-athlete by graduating female athletes from all three NCAA divisions.
Viens attended the University of South Florida and from the forward position, led the team in goals and points for four straight years. The Canadian was named an All-American twice in her collegiate playing career, as well as four-time All-Conference. In the 2018-2019 season, The American Athletic Conference named her offensive player of the year. Viens was drafted fifth overall in the 2020 NWSL College Draft and made her professional debut for Sky Blue FC in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup against OL Reign. She scored her first professional goal in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup against the Chicago Red Stars.
“It is a great honor to be nomiated for the NCAA Woman of the Year,” said Viens. “The nomination really showcases the team culture and the University of South Florida. I am grateful to be considered amongst so many other great women.”
Riehl played her collegiate soccer at Penn State University, having a decorated career as a defender which included being named a United Soccer Coaches second-team All-American. Under head coach Erica Dambach, Riehl broke and currently holds the NCAA record for minutes played by a position player, having played 8,847 minutes over her career. She also ranks third in starts and appearances at Penn State. Riehl was also a part of the NCAA Championship-winning squad in 2015. She was drafted 11th overall in the 2020 NWSL College Draft and made her professional debut for Sky Blue FC in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup against Utah Royals FC.
“I am grateful to be nominated for the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year,” said Riehl. “Penn State provided me with an environment that challenged me to learn and grow and gave me all the necessary resources to be successful. I am thankful for everyone there who pushed me to be better every day. This nomination is a testament to my incredible team and the culture within the Penn State Women’s Soccer program.”
The 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year award featured 161 nominated college athletes. Later this month, the final Top 30 honorees will be announced. Following the Top 30 honorees list, the selection committee will narrow down the list to three finalists from each division with the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics selecting the 2020 Woman of the Year from the nine-athlete pool.