Dec. 12, 2002
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Santa Clara University women's soccer All-American Aly Wagner was named the winner of the 2002 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, presented to the top female player in NCAA Division I soccer. The University of Virginia's Alecko Eskandarian was named the men's recipient. The winners were decided by a vote of current National Soccer Coaches Association of America members at the NCAA Division I level.
This year's honorees have the distinction of being the first to receive the newly-unified award. This summer's announcement of the unification of the M.A.C. Award and Hermann Trophy completed the merging of NCAA Division I soccer's three top honors. In 1999, the M.A.C. and NSCAA came together to create a single award recognizing the top Division I players.
Wagner won the award convincingly. Christie Welsh of Penn State, winner of the 2001 Hermann Trophy and the MAC Player of the Year award, was the runner-up, followed by Catherine Reddick of North Carolina and Christine Sinclair of Portland.
Wagner, a senior midfielder from San Jose, Calif., helped lead the Broncos to last Sunday's 2002 College Cup title match, where they fell in double overtime to Portland, 2-1. She missed seven games with SCU this season while helping the U.S. Women's National Team to the Gold Cup title and a berth in next year's Women's World Cup in China.
Wagner is the third player from Santa Clara to win Player of the Year honors. Mandy Clemens captured the Hermann Trophy and M.A.C. award in 1999 while Brandi Chastain was named the 1990 Intercollegiate Soccer Association of America Player of the Year. Wagner was a finalist for both the M.A.C. and Hermann Awards in 2000 and '01.
Yesterday, Wagner was named one of four finalists for the 2002 Honda Soccer Award, announced by the Honda Awards Program. She was the 2001 recipient of the Honda Award after leading the nation in assists while guiding SCU to its first outright women's national championship, scoring the game-winning goal against North Carolina in the championship contest.
In addition to her accomplishments on the field, Wagner has excelled in the classroom where she carries a 3.44 GPA in combined sciences. She recently was named to the Verizon Academic All-District team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.
Wagner and Eskandarian will be honored at a dinner Friday, Jan. 10, 2003, at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis. Bruce Arena, head coach of the U.S. men's soccer team and former Virginia coach, will be the featured speaker at the dinner. The winners also will be recognized as part of the NSCAA All-America Luncheon, to be held Saturday, Jan. 18, as part of the 2003 NSCAA Convention in Kansas City, Mo.
An exhibition dedicated to the new award featuring all former recipients of both the M.A.C. and Hermann trophies, the current winners, a replica of the Irish crystal trophy and the original Hermann Trophy will be unveiled in 2003 at the National Soccer Museum in Oneonta, N.Y. Additional information about the soccer Hall of Fame can be found at www.soccerhall.org. More details on the MAC Hermann Trophy can be found at www.mac-hermann-trophy.org.