Dec. 22, 2004
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Santa Clara University senior midfielder Leslie Osborne has been voted the nation's top college female soccer player and is the recipient of the Honda Sports Award for women's soccer, announced Tuesday by the Honda Awards program. The honor was based on the results of national balloting among NCAA member schools as part of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 29th year. The Honda Awards Program will donate $5,000 to the Broncos women's athletic fund.
The Honda Award is given annually to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports, as well as an automatic nomination for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. Other nominees include Kelly Dostal, field hockey, and Kim Smith, cross-country, along with athletes to be voted the most outstanding in basketball, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, volleyball and track & field. The Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year will be determined by separate balloting involving all NCAA-member institutions and the winner will receive the Honda-Broderick Cup in New York in June 2005.
"I'm very happy that Leslie is being recognized with the Honda Award," head coach Jerry Smith said. "What she did for our team in helping us overcome injuries--and playing injured herself--and overcoming a tough NCAA draw, she clearly proved that she's a complete player, a true leader and very deserving of this honor that recognizes her as the national player of the year."
A senior midfielder from Menomonee Falls, Wis., Osborne was the Broncos' leader this past season. She was named the West Coast Conference's Defender of the Year, becoming the first player in league history to be selected as both the Player of the Year (which she accomplished in 2003) and Defender of the Year. She led the 16th-seeded Broncos to the program's 10th overall semifinal appearance, and was named to the College Cup All-Tournament team. A four-time All-WCC first team honoree, Osborne was also a semifinalist for the 2004 MAC Hermann Trophy.
A team captain, Osborne was one of three players that started all 25 contests. A holding midfielder, she netted nine goals and one assist for 19 points this past season. She converted all three penalty kick attempts and led the team with six game-winning goals. She played the last eight weeks of the season with two torn ligaments in her right ankle, but persevered, scoring the game-winner against California in the opening round of the NCAA Championship, and helped advance her team to the College Cup with a goal in the quarterfinal against Illinois.
Osborne was the only senior of the four nominees. The other finalists were North Carolina's Heather O'Reilly, Portland's Christine Sinclair and Penn State's Tiffany Weimer. 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalists Brandi Chastain (1990-91) and Aly Wagner (2001-02) are former Bronco standouts that have also received this honor.
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. sponsors the Collegiate Women Sports Awards Program, and the NSCAA selected the nominees for this honor. The trophy was established in 1977 by Thomas Broderick, founder and owner of a sports apparel company that bears his name. Honda took over sponsorship in 1987.