Photo of Portland Thorns forward Christine Sinclair jumping over Seattle Reign goalkeeper Michelle Betos after making a save. Photo courtesy of the Portland Thorns.
By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
April 29, 2013-After competing for teams in four cities and two countries to play professional-level soccer, Seattle Reign goalkeeper Michelle Betos hopes that the new National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is more stable than the two previous pro women’s leagues.
"It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of this new professional league, and to have the opportunity to play," Michelle commented. "I really believe this league is here to stay. Playing overseas is a great experience but nothing compares to the level of play here in the United States, or to the feeling of getting to play in front of friends and family."
The 25-year-old from Flushing served as the back-up goalkeeper for the Long Island Fury in 2006. As an 18-year-old, she helped lead the Fury to the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) national championship in their expansion season. It was then on to the University of Georgia, where she had 316 saves, ranking third all-time at Georgia, and second in shutout count (26) and win totals (48).
During the 2009 W-League season, Michelle played for the Atlanta Silverbacks. She led Atlanta to the Southeast Division title with a 10-1-1 record and was named W-League Goalkeeper of the Year. In 2011, Michelle played keeper for the WPSL’s Boston Aztec Breakers Reserves. She was in goal for the New York Fury of WPSL Elite last summer, then for Cyprus’ Apollon Limassol in the UEFA Champions League before signing with the NWSL.
Michelle can speak a little Greek and commented about her experience in Cyprus, "As a goalkeeper, it’s obviously very important to communicate so the Apollon players and I created our own language–– a mix of English and Greek–– that allowed our points to get across in the run of play."
In youth soccer, Michelle played for the Olympic Development Program (ODP) of the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) and Region 1 ODP Team, both for three years, fitting the pattern that 86% of the American players in NWSL were members of ODP as teenagers. She also played for the Albertson Fury ‘87 of the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL).
Paul Riley coached her on all three teams named Fury––Albertson Fury ‘87, Long Island Fury and New York Fury.
"Michelle has developed through a tough training regimen and a desire to play at the highest level. She is a true professional with great hands, brilliant agility and solid feet," commented Coach Riley. "Terrific organizer and locker room personality. From the day I met her with Albertson Fury ‘87, I knew she would be a professional goalkeeper. She will be training with Hope Solo everyday and her competitive nature with show itself for sure."
She completed her youth career by serving as team captain for two years and was the 2005 Most Valuable Player of St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens.
Michelle started playing soccer at age 5 but how exactly she ended up in goal is a story that she is not shy about sharing.
"I figured out early on that I could have pockets in my shorts and keep some Skittles in them, and that’s literally how I started playing goalie. I didn’t want to run and then I realized that I could just have some candy during the game," Michelle said.
With 123,843 youth soccer players––68,587 boys and 55,256 girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with 12 leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. Eastern New York exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Special Children. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. Eastern New York is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer Association. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/, which receives nearly 300,000 hits annually from the growing soccer community.