Da Cruz signs with New Jersey Wildcats
SAN ANTONIO — Former UTSA standout Laylla da Cruz has signed with the New Jersey Wildcats of the United Soccer League’s W-League, the club recently announced.
“We are very excited to have Laylla play for us this summer,” Wildcats President Kevin McDermott said in a release. “We are pushing hard for the W-League Championship and she is a big piece of the puzzle toward that goal. Our youth players here will be able to learn a lot from watching her train and play this summer, as well.”
The W-League is the largest women’s sports league in North America and features 37 teams situated throughout the United States and Canada. The circuit, which began in 1995, is widely regarded as the premier women’s soccer league in North America and will showcase players from throughout the world this summer.
The signing continues an impressive post-UTSA career for da Cruz, who started and played in front of more than 20,000 fans for the Brazilian National Team in its Nov. 10, 2013, friendly against the United States in Orlando, Fla.
“I got a lot of compliments on my fitness and conditioning and I think that reflects on the hard work, training and coaching that I got at UTSA,” da Cruz said after the match. “I was more prepared because of the high level of play with Conference USA and UTSA.”
The Ouro Branco, Brazil, native then spent part of her winter break at the Universal Soccer Academy in Luberton, N.J. Da Cruz learned of the academy from Carli Lloyd, a longtime member of the U.S. Women’s National Team that also attended and trained with director James Galanis.
In her four seasons at UTSA, da Cruz recorded 28 points on 12 assists and eight goals. As a freshman, she scored five winners and added five helpers in leading the Roadrunners to the 2010 Southland Conference Tournament Championship, which gave the program its first league title and NCAA Tournament bid.
Da Cruz will make her debut in the W-League on May 17 when the Wildcats host the New York Magic in their season opener.