Yael Averbuch West (born November 3, 1986) is the executive director of the National Women's Soccer League Players Association.[1] A professional soccer player, she last played as a defender for Seattle Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League.

Yael Averbuch
Yael Averbuch with flag.jpg
Averbuch with the American flag flying behind her in 2013
Personal information
Full name Yael Friedman Averbuch West
Date of birth (1986-11-03) November 3, 1986 (age 33)
Place of birth Montclair, New Jersey, United States
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
Monclair Kangaroos
Montclair Mavericks
Ramapo Wildcats
College career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2008 North Carolina Tar Heels 77 (26)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2004 New Jersey Lady Stallions 16 (3)
2009–2010 Sky Blue FC 41 (1)
2011 Western New York Flash 14 (0)
2012 WFC Rossiyanka
2012–13 Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC 30 (8)
2014 Washington Spirit 22 (1)
2015–2017 FC Kansas City 63 (6)
2018 Reign FC 1 (0)
National team
2002 United States U-16
2003 United States U-17
2003–2004 United States U-19 15 (2)
United States U-20
United States U-21
2008 United States U-23
2007–2013 United States 26 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of April 19, 2018
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of November 10, 2013

During her career as a center midfielder at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Averbuch was named national player of the year by both Soccer Buzz and Top Drawer Soccer. Averbuch was selected in the first round of the 2009 WPS Draft (4th overall) by her home state team, Sky Blue FC. She later played for Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC in the Damallsvenskan and the UEFA Women's Champions League and made a brief stint with WFC Rossiyanka. She is a two-time WPS champion with Sky Blue FC and the Western New York Flash.

Averbuch played for the United States at every level of the youth national teams and represented the United States women's national soccer team from 2007 to 2013.

Early lifeEdit

Averbuch, who is Jewish, was born in New York City. She is the daughter of Gloria Averbuch and Paul Friedman. Her middle name is her father's last name and her last name is her mother's maiden name.[2]

Averbuch grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, where she attended Montclair High School, graduating in 2005.[3] Yael attained High Honor Roll status all four years in high school. She did not play high school soccer, concentrating on club soccer instead. She was named an NSCAA All-American and USYSA All-American as a sophomore, junior and senior. As a junior and senior, she was named Parade All-American.[2]

University of North CarolinaEdit

Averbuch as a Tar Heel.

During her career as a center midfielder at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Averbuch set a record starting 105 consecutive games. She was a two-time captain and was selected first-team All-Performer the Atlantic Coast Conference, one of the most competitive conferences in the country.[4] She helped the Tar Heels win two NCAA Women's College Cup titles in 2006 and 2008. In 2006 and 2007, she earned NSCAA All-America first team status. In 2008, she was named to the NSCAA All-America second team and earned NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year and NCAA VIII Award honors.[5]

As a freshman in 2005, Averbuch started all 25 games. She scored three of her four goals off direct kicks as the team's free kick and corner kick specialist. She was named to the Soccer America and Soccer Buzz first-team freshman All-America teams after notching seven assists and four goals in her first season with the Tar Heels. She was also named the Soccer Buzz Southeast Region Freshman of the Year and was tapped for the All-Southeast Region Second Team and Southeast Region All-Freshman Team. Averbuch was recognized by the ACC as an Academic All-Conference player and as a member of ACC All-Freshmen Team. She was named to the Duke adidas Classic All-Tournament Team as well as the 2005–06 ACC Honor Roll.[2]

In 2006, Averbuch was Carolina's second-leading scorer with 39 points and led the team in game-winning goals with seven. She was named national player of the year by both Soccer Buzz and Top Drawer Soccer and was a finalist for both the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy and the Honda Soccer Award. She set an NCAA record for fastest goal scored in a game when she scored four seconds into the match at Yale on the direct kick at midfield to start the game. Averbuch assisted on both goals against UCLA in the NCAA semifinals and was named the ACC's Offensive Player of the Year, Soccer Buzz's Southeast Region player of the year, first-team All-ACC, and All-ACC Academic for a second straight year. She was also named to ESPN The Magazine's women's soccer third-team Academic All-America.[2]

During her junior year in 2007, Averbuch appeared in and started every game for the Tar Heels. She was fourth on the team with 18 points, collected six goals and six assists for the season, and led the team in shots taken with 88. She was named to the ESPN The Magazine/College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team and was a second-team ESPN The Magazine All-America selection. She was named ACC's Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women's soccer and was an All-ACC Academic Team selection, first-team All-ACC and All-ACC Tournament selection. She was also a finalist for Soccer Buzz Player of the Year and a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist. She made three first-team All-America Teams as named by the NSCAA coaches, Soccer America and Soccer Buzz and was an Umbro/Soccer News Net Player of the Year Award finalist. Averbuch was also a Soccer Buzz and NSCAA first-team All-Southeast Region selection as well as Jewish Sports Review All America.[2]

Club careerEdit

New Jersey Lady StallionsEdit

Averbuch played for the New Jersey Lady Stallions in the W-League from 2002 to 2004. At just 14 years of age, she became the youngest player at that time to appear in the W-League.[6]

Sky Blue FCEdit

Averbuch was selected in the first round of the 2009 WPS Draft (4th overall) by her home state team, Sky Blue FC. During the 2009 season, she started 14 of 18 games and assisted Keeley Dowling's game-winning goal in the WPS Semifinal against the Saint Louis Athletica. The team went on to beat the Los Angeles Sol 1–0 to clinch the 2009 WPS Championship.[5]

In 2010, Averbuch returned to Sky Blue, playing in 23 games, starting 19 and scoring one goal.[7]

Western New York FlashEdit

In 2011, Averbuch signed with the Western New York Flash.[7] She made 14 appearances with eight starts, playing a total of 751 minutes, helping her team win the 2011 WPS Championship in penalties by scoring the winning penalty kick against the Philadelphia Independence.

WFC RossiyankaEdit

After the end of the 2011 WPS season and suspension of the league, Averbuch headed to Moscow, Russia for a month to join WFC Rossiyanka for the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League. She, along with Kia McNeill and Leigh Ann Robinson, were brought in by the coach to help strengthen the team as it prepared to face Germany's 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam in the UEFA Women's Champions League.[8] Averbuch made two appearances for the team.[9]

Kopparbergs/Göteborg FCEdit

In 2012, Averbuch signed with Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC in Sweden. She made 16 appearances and scored 7 goals across all competitions for Göteborg in 2012. Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC won the 2012 Svenska Cupen by defeating Tyresö FF.[10] Averbuch returned to Göteborg in 2013, where she won the 2013 Svenska Supercupen.

Washington Spirit, 2014Edit

Averbuch was acquired by the Washington Spirit in the National Women's Soccer League ahead of the 2014 NWSL season, she was an allocated player by U.S. Soccer.[11] She appeared in 23 games for Washington as they qualified for the NWSL playoffs for the first time.

Loan to ApollonEdit

Averbuch went on loan to Apollon following the 2014 NWSL season.[12]

FC Kansas City, 2015–2017Edit

Averbuch became a free agent in the NWSL after losing her allocation following the 2014 season. On November 7, 2014 she signed with FC Kansas City.[13] Averbuch made 20 appearances for the club and scored 2 goals. FC Kansas City won the NWSL championship in 2015.

She returned to FCKC for the 2016 NWSL season, she scored 3 goals in 20 games, but FC Kansas City finished in 6th place a failed to qualify for the play-offs.[14]

In 2017, Averbuch played in 23 games and scored 1 goal, FCKC missed the playoffs for the second straight season. After the 2017 NWSL season concluded FC Kansas City ceased operations. Utah Royals FC entered the league and all FCKC player contracts were transferred over to the new franchise.[15] At the 2018 NWSL College Draft Averbuch was traded to the Seattle Reign in exchange for Diana Matheson, reuniting her with former FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski.[16]

Averbuch was instrumental in the creation of the National Women's Soccer League Players Association in May 2017. She served as President and the NWSLPA was officially recognized as the exclusive bargaining representative of NWSL Players in November 2018.[17]

Seattle Reign, 2018Edit

Averbuch was only able to play in one game for the Reign in 2018 as she battled ulcerative colitis. She announced prior to the 2019 NWSL season that she was suspending her playing career due to this illness.[18] Averbuch would remain involved with the NWSLPA as she was named Executive Director for 2019.[19]

International careerEdit

Averbuch played for the United States at every level of the youth national teams, starting with the U-16 women's national team in 2002 and U-17 team in 2003 before joining the U-19 team later in 2003. She finished her U-19 career with 15 caps and two goals and was a member of the U.S. team that finished third at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup in Thailand, where she played in two matches. She played for the U.S. U-23s in 2008, captaining the team to a Nordic Cup title in Sweden.

Averbuch earned her first two senior team caps in 2007, coming off the bench in two matches at the Four Nations Tournament in China, playing against England (on January 28, 2007) and China. In 2009, she was called upon to start at outside midfield against Germany in the USA's 1–0 victory in October in Augsburg, her only match of the year. In 2010, she played in 10 matches while starting five and scoring one goal.

Averbuch's first goal for the United States women's national soccer team occurred during a 2010 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup qualifier against Costa Rica on November 1, 2010, in Cancun, Mexico. She played in three matches during the Women's World Cup qualifying matches, starting two.[20]

International statisticsEdit

  United States
Year Apps Goals
2007 2 0
2009 1 0
2010 10 1
2011 3 0
2013 10 0
Total 26 1

International goalsEdit

Scores and results list the United States' goal tally first.

Honors and awardsEdit

  • Set an NCAA record for the fastest goal scored in a game when she scored four seconds into the match at Yale in 2006 on a shot taken directly after the kickoff touch.[21] (video[22])
  • Averbuch, who is Jewish, was named a first-team All-American on the Jewish Sports Review's 2006 Women's College Division I All-America Soccer Team.[23]
  • She was also honored in the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on April 29, 2007.[24]
  • ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women's soccer, 2007 & 2008.[25]
  • Was one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy award in 2006 for top college player in the country.[25]
  • Received the NCAA VIII award, given to 8 seniors nationwide for athletic/academic/community achievements.[25]
  • Retired her UNC college jersey number in Spring, 2009.[25]


Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC

FC Kansas City


University of North Carolina



Journalism careerEdit

Averbuch has written for The New York Times and Our Game Magazine.[26] She now writes her own blog.[27]

Personal lifeEdit

Averbuch's hometown is Montclair, New Jersey. Her younger sister, Shira, was a midfielder for Stanford University[28] and represented the Team USA in July 2013 in the 19th Maccabiah Games in Israel[29] and is a current employee of Soccer United Marketing.

In 2016 Averbuch founded Techne Futbol, a soccer training app which provides a personal training program for soccer players.[30]

On April 27, 2019 Averbuch married former Davidson College midfielder, Aaron West, in a ceremony in North Carolina. [31]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Murray, Caitlin (May 15, 2017). "What does the new NWSL Players Association mean for players and the league?". Fox Sports. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Yael Averbuch player profile". Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  3. ^ http://www.ussoccer.com/teams/wnt/a/yael-averbuch.aspx
  4. ^ "Yael Averbuch: The Face of Jewish Women's Soccer". Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Yael Averbuch player profile". Western New York Flash. Archived from the original on August 22, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  6. ^ Bell, Jack (August 17, 2009). "Goal – After Rocky Start, Sky Blue Is Two Wins From WPS Title". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Yael Averbuch player profile". US Soccer. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  8. ^ Averbuch, Yael. "What Now?". The New York Times. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  9. ^ "2011/2012 FK ROSSIYANKA Roster". Soccer Way. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  10. ^ "Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC 2012 roster". Soccer Way. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  11. ^ "2014 nwsl allocation list". January 3, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  12. ^ "5 Things I've Learned in Cyprus". October 7, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  13. ^ "Averbuch signs with NWSL champs FC Kansas City". November 7, 2014. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  14. ^ "Y.AVERBUCH". Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  15. ^ "FC Kansas City ceases operations, contracts transferred to Real Salt Lake NWSL team". November 20, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  16. ^ "Canadian WNT Diana Matheson Joins Utah Royals FC". January 18, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  17. ^ "NWSL, NWSLPA reach voluntary recognition agreement". November 17, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  18. ^ "Yael Averbuch hits pause on her playing career due to illness". March 2, 2019. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  19. ^ "Yael Averbuch Will Serve As NWSL Players Association Executive Director For 2019". Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  20. ^ U.S. Women's National Team Beats Costa Rica 4-0 to Top Group B at CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying in Cancun, Mexico - U.S. Soccer
  21. ^ Bell, Jack (September 6, 2006). "US Cleats Leave Mark on Scandinavia's Welcome". The New York Times. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
  22. ^ "Fastest Goal in Soccer History". YouTube. September 5, 2006. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  23. ^ "Averbuch Named to Jewish Sports Review All-America Team: Soccer Buzz National Player of the Year is one of 12 players on first-team squad". Cstv.com. January 15, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2010.
  24. ^ "Honoree details – Yael Averbuch". Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
  25. ^ a b c d 17  Yael Averbuch (November 3, 1986). "Player Bio: Yael Averbuch – University of North Carolina". Tarheelblue.cstv.com. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  26. ^ Averbuch, Yael. "Yael Averbuch". Nytimes.com. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  27. ^ "Furthering women's soccer like no magazine has done before". Our Game Magazine. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  28. ^ "Yael Averbuch – University of North Carolina Athletics". North Carolina Tar Heels. January 22, 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
  29. ^ "USA Soccer Team – Maccabiah Games". Maccabi USA. July 12, 2013. Archived from the original on October 3, 2013. Retrieved October 6, 2013.
  30. ^ "ONE ON ONE WITH TECHNE FUTBOL FOUNDER YAEL AVERBUCH". August 9, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  31. ^ "Yael Averbuch and Aaron West's Wedding Website". Retrieved January 25, 2020.

External linksEdit