GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Football Club has re-signed five players – defender Mouse Kovacs; midfielders Marti Corby and Grace Labadie; and forwards Lizzie Paul and Riko Sagara – for the 2018 United Women’s Soccer season.
Kovacs recorded two goals in 13 competitive appearances for GRFC during the 2017 campaign. The first player to ever sign for the Ladies in Blue, Kovacs potted the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over the Detroit Sun in the Midwest Conference Final on July 16, while her 119th-minute equalizer in the National Semifinals against the Long Island Rough Riders on July 21 was named the UWS Goal of the Season. In recognition of her efforts, Kovacs was honored as the UWS Championship MVP and earned a place on the All-UWS First Team.
A native of Hudsonville, Mich., Kovacs brings international experience to GRFC, having played with the United States U19 Women’s National Team. She recently completed her junior season at Michigan State University, starting three matches and garnering Academic All-Big Ten honors. In all, Kovacs has tallied three goals and an assist in 41 appearances with the Spartans.
Corby notched six goals in 10 competitive appearances for the Ladies in Blue in 2017. The 5-foot-10 midfielder scored GRFC’s opening marker in its UWS National Championship victory against the Santa Clarita Blue Heat on July 22. She was named Woman of the Match after posting a goal in a 2-1 win versus FC Indiana on June 16.
In addition to her duties with GRFC, Corby also serves as the assistant women’s soccer coach at Adrian College. The Ada, Mich., native enjoyed a standout playing career with Grand Valley State University (2013-16), where she led the Lakers to three consecutive NCAA Division II National Championships from 2013-2015. Corby registered 61 goals and 63 assists in 103 appearances with GVSU, earning numerous individual accolades and, most notably, receiving an invitation to the United States U23 Women’s National Team training camp in 2016.
Labadie appeared in eight competitive matches for the Ladies in Blue in 2017. The 5-foot-5 midfielder featured as a substitute in three playoff matches last season, including the UWS National Championship versus Santa Clarita.
A native of Kalamazoo, Mich., Labadie recently finished her sophomore year at Western Michigan University, recording a team-high five goals to go with two assists in 19 starts with the Broncos. Prior to transferring to WMU, Labadie began her collegiate career at Indiana University, where she made six appearances as a freshman in 2016.
Paul notched two goals in 10 competitive appearances for the Ladies in Blue during the 2017 season. On July 15, the 5-foot-7 forward netted a brace in an 11-0 rout of FC Indiana to clinch a berth in the Midwest Conference Final.
A native of Manchester, England, Paul is the head coach of Davenport University’s junior varsity women’s soccer team. Prior to starting her coaching career, Paul played four seasons with the Panthers from 2010-13, logging a school-record 53 goals along with 21 assists in 69 appearances. Paul was named WHAC Offensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2013 and was a two-time First-Team All-WHAC selection.
Sagara was the only member of the Ladies in Blue to appear in all 14 competitive matches in 2017, tallying three goals with the club. The 5-foot-4 forward scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the 97th minute of the UWS National Championship against Santa Clarita. She was also named Woman of the Match after picking up a goal and two assists in GRFC’s 11-0 win over FC Indiana.
Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Sagara recently concluded her sophomore campaign at Martin Methodist College, recording 12 goals and shattering the NAIA’s single-season assists record with 36 helpers in 24 appearances. This past season, Sagara was named a NAIA Second-Team All-American after helping the RedHawks reach the quarterfinals of the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship. In total, Sagara has recorded 23 goals and 45 assists over two seasons with the RedHawks.
GRFC opens the home portion of its schedule on Saturday, May 5 against the Midwest United U19 squad at 7 p.m. at Grandville High School. Additional home dates confirmed by the UWS include May 13, May 20, June 2, June 30 and July 8.