Enumclaw’s Gwerder solid on the back line

A stalwart of defense, Aleea Gwerder helped the Sounders Women take the Jerry Zanelli Cup.

Aleea Gwerder, University of Utah Soccer August 8, 2016 in Salt lake City, UT. (Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

Aleea Gwerder, University of Utah Soccer August 8, 2016 in Salt lake City, UT. (Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

These are exciting times on the soccer pitch for Aleea Gwerder.

The Enumclaw native recently helped the Sounders Women complete an undefeated season and capture the Jerry Zanelli Cup, given to the Womens Previer Soccer League national champions.

Gwerder, a defender, and her teammates took down Pensacola FC in the championship game after defeating Fire and Ice, the defending national champions. The games were played during a three-day span, July 20-22, in Norman, Oklahoma.

The national title came after the team won a division championship and Western Conference title.

The Women’s Premiere Soccer League strives to provide the highest level of developmental opportunities for amateur players in the United States. During the course of two decades, the WPSL has grown to more than 100 clubs and is the largest women’s soccer league in the world. Team rosters consist of skilled players from collegiate, post-collegiate, international and standout prep programs.

With the close of the Sounders Women’s season, Gwerder was hustling back to the University of Utah campus and the beginning of her junior season with the Utes’ soccer program.

The Utes begin the 2018 season with an exhibition game on Sunday, Aug. 12 against the Idaho Vandals before opening the regular season at home on Aug. 17 against Minnesota. The nonconference game against the Golden Gophers will be available locally on the Pac-12 Network.

Gwerder has been a consistent force for the Ute defense, having started every game at outside back during the 2016 campaign. Though just a freshman, she played every minute in 13 games, includes the final six of the season, as Utah reached the NCAA Sweet 16.

During her sophomore season, Gwerder played in every game and picked up her first collegiate goal. Showing strength in the classroom as well, she was an honorable mention pick when the Pac-12 Conference released its All-Academic squad.

Gwerder did not play soccer at Enumclaw High, where she was a member of the graduating class of 2016. An accomplished runner, she was the captain of the cross country team, leading the Hornets to a district title and qualifying four years in a row for the state championship meet. Also, she was named the 2015 South Puget Sound League 3A Female Athlete of the Year for her performances during the track season.

She made her soccer mark at the club level and was eventually ranked as the No. 6 player in the Pacific Northwest and No. 128 nationally by Top Drawer Soccer after competing in the 2015 Nike National Training Camp. She led Washington Premier to a U18 2013 Rainier Challenge championship and the national playoffs.

Aleea Gwerder, Utah soccer vs. UCLA, October 29, 2016 in Salt Lake City, UT. (Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

Aleea Gwerder, Utah soccer vs. UCLA, October 29, 2016 in Salt Lake City, UT. (Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

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