Aug. 11, 2009
Five UCLA soccer players - three on the women's side and two on the men's side - were selected to the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy Watch List. On the women's list are junior Lauren Barnes, senior Lauren Cheney and sophomore Sydney Leroux. On the men's list are seniors Kyle Nakazawa and Michael Stephens.
Barnes, a junior from Upland, Calif., is one of the top defenders in the country, leading the team to several defensive records in 2008. She was a member of a Bruin defense that ranked No. 1 in the country in goals against average (0.23). The team surrendered just six goals in 25 matches last season, posting a single-season school record 19 shutouts. Barnes also helped out offensively, tying for third on the team with six assists.
Cheney, a senior forward from Indianapolis, Ind., led the team in scoring for the third straight season, finishing the year with 31 points (11g, 9a). She also earned first-team NSCAA/adidas All-America honors for the third year in a row. Much of Cheney's time in the offseason has been spent with the U.S. Women's National Team. She was a member of the gold-medal-winning 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, and played in three matches with the squad this past summer, helping the team to three wins over Canada. Cheney was a finalist for the M.A.C./Hermann Trophy in 2007 and was a semifinalist last year.
Leroux, a sophomore forward from Vancouver, British Columbia, earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honors in her first season at UCLA in 2008. She started 18 matches before missing the remainder of the season while competing at the FIFA Under-20 World Championships in Chile. Leroux was the star of the tournament, earning both the Golden Ball (tournament's top player) and Golden Shoe (tournament's top scorer) awards. She ranked sixth last season in points at UCLA, ending the year with 16 points.
Nakazawa, a midfielder from Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., was also on the Watch List a year ago. He had his 2008 season cut short due to injuries, playing in 10 games yet still ranking fourth on the team in assists with four. He also had one goal and has amassed eight goals and 18 assists in his career. Nakazawa was UCLA's Team MVP in 2007 and was selected to Soccer America's All-Freshman team in 2006.
Stephens, a midfielder from Naperville, Ill., is the reigning Pac-10 Player of the Year and a member of Soccer America's MVPs Second Team. Last season, he led the Pac-10 in points scored (23) and tied for the league lead in assists with nine, including a school record tying four at San Diego State. He also became the first Pac-10 men's soccer player ever to earn Player of the Week honors three times in one season. Stephens has spent his offseason playing with the U.S. Under-20 National Team.
Considered the highest individual honor in intercollegiate soccer, the recipients of the MAC's Hermann Trophy are selected by Division I head coaches who are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. A list of 15 semifinalists is selected by a coaches committee in November, with three finalists announced in early December. They will invited to the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis, Mo., for a news conference on Jan. 8, 2010, where the winner will be announced, with a presentation banquet following.