Megan Rapinoe Absence Brings Playing Time to Hudsonville Native
A former Hudsonville Unity Christian High School soccer star has been taking full advantage of her opportunity to play which first began with an injury to U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
Rapinoe sat out the U.S. Women's World Cup semifinal match against England with what is now being called a "minor strain." It was an injury to Rapinoe combined with another injury, in April, that gave Bethany Balcer, the former standout from Hudsonville, a chance to start for Reign FC of the National Women's Soccer League.
In addition to Unity Christian, Balcer also played for Spring Arbor University where she scored 129 goals in 98 games. She was the first player to win the NAIA Women’s Soccer National Player of the Year three times. She was also a first-team All-American four times.
After going undrafted, Balcer signed a contract to join Reign FC of the NWSL. Balcer had been a non-roster invitee and was signed to the supplemental roster. Balcer was called-up for the first game and has played in each game for Reign FC this season.
After playing just four minutes in the opener, Balcer found herself starting at left forward in the second game of the season thanks to an injury to Darian Jenkins who was there for the injured Megan Rapinoe. Balcer made the most of the start as she scored Reign FC's only goal in a 1-1 draw with Orlando.
Through 10 games, Balcer is tied for the team lead in goals scored with 3, she is also tied with several others for the fourth-most goals scored in the NWSL this season.
Rapinoe is one of several Reign FC players called from the team for World Cup duty. Balcer's exceptional play combined with team injuries and players called to play in the World Cup have given her the opportunity to make a strong case for herself to remain in the lineup when the team returns to full strength.
Reign FC was formerly known as Seattle Reign FC. They are now based in Tacoma, Wash.