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Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

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Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:59 pm

The third-seeded University of Akron men's soccer team defeated sixth-seeded California, 3-2, in penalty kicks Saturday in front of 3,442 fans at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field to return to the College Cup for the second consecutive season.
In all, it marks just the third time in school history the Zips (20-1-2) have advanced to NCAA soccer's version of the Final Four. UA will face 10th-seeded Michigan (17-4-3) in the national semifinal game next Friday, Dec. 10, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

The UA Department of Athletics will host an official send-off celebration Tuesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Stile Athletics Field House. Fans are encouraged to come to the free event on campus and show their support. Akron is looking to capture the school's first team national championship in any sport.

In addition to the Wolverines, whom the Zips defeated 7-1 at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field in October, this year's College Cup will feature top-seeded Louisville (19-0-3), which knocked off eighth-seeded UCLA 5-4 in its quarterfinal match, and fourth-seeded North Carolina (16-3-1), which dispatched fifth-seeded SMU 4-2 in penalty kicks.

After playing to a 3-3 tie at the end of the second overtime period, UA goalkeeper David Meves made a pair of huge saves and Kofi Sarkodie, Akron's final shooter, netted the decisive blow.

Both teams failed to connect on their first penalty kicks and after Cal's A.J. Soares put the Bears up 1-0, UA's Perry Kitchen kept pace with a goal of his own. Meves then recorded saves on back-to-back attempts by Servando Carrasco and Davis Paul and Akron's Zarek Valentin put one past Bears' keeper David Bingham, who finished with seven saves for the game, to push the Zips out to a 2-1 advantage.

An Akron miss, combined with a goal by Cal's final shooter, Anthony Avalos, left the door open for the Bears. But Sarkodie slammed it shut with the game clincher. With the result, UA matched Tulsa (1988-92) for an NCAA record by extending its home unbeaten streak to 39 games, dating back to the 2008 season.

For the first time all year, the Zips found themselves trailing in a home game when Cal found the net in the 30th minute. Ted Jones sparked the play by sending a long pass to Avalon from near midfield. Avalon took the ball on the right flank and slotted the keeper far post from 13 yards.

But it didn't stay that way for long however as the Zips found the equalizer just 10 minutes later when a combination play from Darren Mattocks and Darlington Nagbe left the ball for Michael Nanchoff on the left flank. Nanchoff fired a low liner into the right corner of the net for his 10th goal of the season.

Then, just 34 seconds later, Akron jumped on top thanks to a costly turnover by the Bears and another beautiful combination play by the Zips. Nagbe stepped in front of a Cal pass on the left side of the field in enemy territory and made a strong run towards the middle before sending a quick pass to Anthony Ampaipitakwong. Ampaipitakwong then pushed the ball to his right where Scott Caldwell scored his fourth career goal – all coming during this postseason – from 12 yards out.

The Bears pulled even in the 57th minute on a flurry of shots. Demitrius Omphroy uncorked the first attempt, which resulted in a great diving save by Meves. But Meves, who finished with three saves on the night, could do nothing with the second shot as Tony Salciccia fired the rebound into the net.

Kitchen put the Zips back on top in the 76th minute with a strike from the top of the box, but Cal's John Fitzpatrick received a long pass from midfield and scored an improbable goal with just 1:31 left in the second half to force overtime.

Zips Notebook: Akron has trailed in just seven games over the past two seasons ... UA improved to 58-0-0 when leading at halftime and 66-0-1 when scoring two or more goals under fifth-year head coach Caleb Porter ... The Zips have been defeated just once during the regular run of play in its last 48 matches ... Akron is 16-6-4 all-time versus top-25 teams under Porter, including a 14-2-3 mark since 2008. Cal entered Saturday's contest ranked No. 6 in the country.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-bDs72KtBA&feature=player_embedded
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:02 pm

TELEVISION BROADCAST
The College Cup semifinals and championship will be televised nationally.

Semifinal - Friday, December 10
Game 1 Akron vs. Michigan 8:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Game 2 Lousiville vs. North Carolina 11:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN3.com)

Championship - Sunday, December 12
4 p.m. ET (ESPN2/ESPN3.com)

OFFICIAL WATCH PARTY
If you cannot join us in Santa Barbara, come cheer on the Zips in the College Cup official watch party at the Barley House in Akron. The games will be shown on the Barley House's large-screen televisions. 222 South Main Street 330-374-0925

NCAA Fan Guide: http://www.ncaa.com/graphics/2010MColle ... M_ID=10800
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:42 pm

For the second-straight season, The University of Akron men's soccer team will play for the national championship following a 2-1 victory over Michigan Friday night in the second of two NCAA semifinal matches at Harder Stadium.
With the victory, the third-seeded Zips (21-1-2) will face top-seeded Louisville (20-0-3) in the final Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The Cardinals defeated fourth-seeded North Carolina 2-1 in today's first semifinal game.
Akron, which is attempting to win the school's first team national championship in any sport, broke a 1-1 tie in the 74th minute when Michael Nanchoff's free kick from the right flank found the head of Kofi Sarkodie near the back post. Sarkodie flicked the ball into the net from just inside the six for the game-winner.
Scott Caldwell was brought down from behind near the right touchline to prompt the restart. Akron becomes the first team to reach back-to-back NCAA Championship games since Indiana won consecutive titles in 2003 and 2004. Coincidentally, UA head coach Caleb Porter was an assistant coach on those Hoosiers teams.
For the second-straight game, the Zips had to play from behind as Michigan's Justin Meram tucked a blast from the top of the box inside the left post just 62 seconds into the contest, but UA kept its composure and controlled the offensive flow for much of the remainder of the first half.
Akron had a good look in the seventh minute, when Darlington Nagbe ripped a shot from straight on that deflected off the back of a Michigan defender and dribbled over to Nanchoff on the left wing. Nanchoff quickly gathered the ball and fired but his shot sailed wide right.
But that series sparked a shift in momentum as the Zips began to chip away at the Wolverines with their possession and finally broke through in the 33rd minute on a beautiful goal by freshman Perry Kitchen.
Kitchen gathered the ball near midfield, created space, and fired a laser from 30 yards into the upper right-hand corner of the net just beyond the outstretched arms of U-M goalkeeper Chris Blais. It was Kitchen's sixth goal of the season and his second in as many games.
The Zips' equalizer highlighted a 17-minute stretch that saw Akron launch 11 shots, including four on frame. In all, UA posted a 14-4 advantage in shots for the first half.
Both teams traded scoring opportunities midway through the second half. A long corner kick from Anthony Ampaipitakwong found the head of Sarkodie, who tried to flick the ball back post but was wide. Then, in the 64th minute, Michigan's Soony Saad collected the ball amidst a cluster of Akron defenders and banged one off the far post.

Zips Notebook: Akron has been defeated just once during the regular run of play in its last 49 matches ... The Zips improved to 3-0 in national semifinal games Friday. UA was defeated by Duke (1-0) in the national championship game in 1986 and fell to Virginia in a penalty kick shootout (3-2) in the title match last season ... The Zips are 67-0-1 when scoring two or more goals under fifth-year head coach Caleb Porter.
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:09 pm

SANTA BARBARA, Calf. – University of Akron juniors Darlington Nagbe and Kofi Sarkodie have each been named to the All-America First Team, the NSCAA announced this week.

It is the second consecutive year Nagbe, who is one of three finalists for the Hermann Trophy, has achieved All-America status after being named to the second team last season. He becomes just the 11th player in school history to receive All-American recognition in multiple years. It is the first honor for Sarkodie, who is a two-time, Academic First Team All-American and the 2010 Academic All-America of the Year.

Moreover, it is the third straight year the Zips have landed at least two players on the All-America list, following Teal Bunbury, Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Nagbe in 2009; and Ampaipitakwong and Steve Zakuani in 2008. In all, UA has recorded eight NSCAA All-Americans under fifth-year head coach Caleb Porter, the 2009 NSCAA National Coach of the Year.

Nagbe and Sarkodie have helped lead Akron (21-1-2) to the national championship game for the second consecutive season after earning a 2-1 victory over Michigan in the NCAA semifinal Friday night at Harder Stadium. With a header in the 74th minute, Sarkodie netted his eighth goal of the campaign, representing a career high, and his fifth game-winning goal of the year.

The third-seeded Zips will face top-seeded Louisville (20-0-3) Sunday at Harder Stadium at 4 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2. Akron is attempting to win the school's first national championship in any sport.
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Cease » Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:12 pm

Congrats to Akron. Freaking huge to win an NCAA title in any sport.
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:32 am

The University of Akron men's soccer team captured the school's first team national championship in any sport on Sunday, using a late goal to defeat Louisville 1-0 at Harder Stadium in the NCAA College Cup. The third-seeded Zips closed out their historic season with a 22-1-2 record, while the top-seeded Cardinals suffered their only loss of the year, finishing 20-1-3.
Akron, which was appearing in the national championship game for the second time in as many seasons, broke a scoreless tie in the 79th minute with a corner kick goal by Scott Caldwell. Anthony Ampaipitakwong provided service from the left side of the field. After a volley, Caldwell had his first shot deflected off a wall of defenders. But the sophomore collected the rebound and sent the ball into the upper right-hand corner of the net from 15 yards.
Lousiville, which was playing in its first national title contest, threatened to punch in the equalizer with a flurry of attempts in the final 1:30 of regulation. One shot was blocked by UA defender Chad Barson and Zips' goalkeepr David Meves stood strong as the final seconds ticked away and the celebration began.

"I'm not usually at a loss for words, but in some ways I am," said UA head coach Caleb Porter. "I am proud of my team. It's been a long journey. It started Dec. 14 after a bitter, painful loss to Virginia last year, which ended on one kick. For these guys to recover from that; move on and work even harder is an absolute tremendous credit to these guys. They have been hungry all year; dug deep, kept going, kept fighting and refused to lose.
"This team has a rare combination of talent and winning qualities. When you put the two together, it's a powerful thing. That's why we won the national championship - the combination of those two things."

The first half featured an entertaining back-and-forth affair with Akron controlling pace early on.

In the fifth minute, Michael Nanchoff provided great service on a cross from the left flank that Darren Mattocks got a foot on, but the powerful blast sailed wide.

A frantic flurry by Louisville followed in the ninth minute – sparked by the game's first corner kick – that saw UA's Chris Korb come off the line to deflect a shot by Cardinals' midfielder Charlie Campbell off the right post. Louisville recovered the ball and fired another shot but Paolo DelPiccolo's attempt went wide.

With the Cardinals pushing forward in the 26th minute, a cross by Nick Deleon left Dylan Mares in a one-on-one situation with Meves. But the sophomore netminder slid to his knees to make a huge save.

Meves came through again in the 44th minute on a direct free kick from DelPiccolo from distance. Meves dove to his left to gobble up the attempt. In all, Louisville posted a narrow advantage on shots, 5-4, in the opening half.

Kofi Sarkodie opened the second half with rip from the right flank that was stopped by Louisville goalkeeper Andre Boudreaux in the 49th minute. The Cardinals answered with a free-kick opportunity one minute later but Meves was there to snag a header by Colin Rolfe.

A series of passes left Caldwell with a good look from 20 yards near the right side of the box in the 64th minute, but the sophomore couldn't quite curve in the ball. Then, two minutes later, a touch pass near mid-field from Anthony Ampaipitakwong found a pair of streaking Zips' players as Darren Mattocks and Darlington Nagbe were left with just the keeper in their sights.

Mattocks quickly pushed the ball to Nagbe, who tried to slip the ball in far post but missed wide.

The Zips kept pressing and had another good look when Korb made a run down the left flank before finding Mattocks, who made the turn and fired the ball into the hands of Boudreaux in the 71st minute. Akron, which was clearly in control in the second half, continued to apply pressure with a barrage of attempts before finally breaking through.
Akron is the third team from the Mid-American Conference to win an NCAA national championship, with Western Michigan's men's cross country program doing so in 1964 and '65.
Details regarding a welcome back celebration will be announced on GoZips.com, once team travel arrangements have been finalized.
Fans interested in purchasing an Akron Zips National Champions t-shirt can do so in a variety of ways. The shirt will be available for pre-order on Monday at www.shopakronzips.com, the official web site of the Akron Athletics Team Shop, and will be available for purchase at the Team Shop at InfoCision Stadium - Summa Field and University Bookstore on Tuesday. For information on all soccer merchandise, please contact the UA Bookstore at (330) 972-7624.
2010 College Cup All-Tournament Team
Sophomore Defender, Zarek Valentin, Akron
Junior Midfielder, Darlington Nagbe, Akron
Junior Defender, Kofi Sarkodie, Akron
Junior Midfielder, Michael Nanchoff, Akron
Senior Midfielder, Anthony Ampaipitakwong, Akron
Sophomore Midfielder, Scott Caldwell, Akron
Senior Midfielder/Defender, Charlie Campbell, Louisville
Junior Forward, Colin Rolfe, Louisville
Junior Defender, Austin Berry, Louisville
Junior Goalkeeper, Andre Boudreaux, Louisville
Senior Forward, Justin Meram, Michigan
Most Outstanding Offensive Player
Sophomore Midfielder, Scott Caldwell, Akron
Most Outstanding Defensive Player
Junior Defender, Kofi Sarkodie, Akron
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:52 am

Terry Pluto Plain Dealer

AKRON, Ohio -- From another coach, it may sound like a self-serving sales job.
But when Caleb Porter talks about how his University of Akron men's soccer team not only won a national championship, but "did it the right way" ... well, you believe him.
It was about 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning when the Zips arrived at their campus following an all-night flight from California. They staggered off the bus into wind chills of 4-below, with about 25 family members, friends and fans awaiting the first national champions in Zips history.
The players were naturally tired after knocking off Louisville, 1-0, to win the title Sunday in Santa Barbara, Calif. But the coach was still wide-eyed and wired. Porter sounded as if he wanted to lead his players into the snow and start practicing for next year.
"I have to tell myself to celebrate, to appreciate what we've done here," he said. "Our goal was to make history, and we did it."
They did it with a team that led the nation in scoring, averaging 2.65 goals per game in a sport where most of the top university program play a passive, defensive style, hoping to win 1-0.
"We wanted to raise the bar for college soccer, playing with passing and being aggressive so that other teams will follow," he said. "I was told that you can 'Die with beauty' by playing this way. I think we disproved that."
They did it with real student/athletes. The Zips had four players on the Academic All-America team, including Kofi Sarkodie (3.9 in biology), who was named the top academic soccer player in the country.
The Zips have five players with at least a 3.8 GPA. Scott Caldwell scored the winning goal in the championship game. He has a 3.9 in accounting. Goaltender David Meves recorded the shutout. The Academic All-American has a 3.8 GPA in corporate finance. The team's 3.33 GPA ranked eighth in Division I soccer.
"Any player who has been with me four years has graduated," said Porter.
They did it the hard way, having lost in the finals to Virginia in a shootout last season. They were ranked No. 1 in the country to start the season. The Zips couldn't sneak up on anyone.
"Some teams would have been content to rest on what they did last year," said Porter. "We were restless. We wanted to get back to the College Cup [the sport's final four], and win it this time. We believed we had the best team in the country, and we wanted to prove it."

A family tradition continued
The Zips did it with a mix of elite recruits from nowhere near Akron -- leading scorer Darren Mattocks is from Jamaica -- and some Ohio stars such as Michael Nanchoff, the team's second-leading scorer.
If anyone has a full appreciation of the national title, it's Nanchoff, whose father, George, and uncle, Louie, were stars with Zips in the 1970s and then played for the Cleveland Force. Michael, a star at Walsh Jesuit, grew up dreaming of playing for Zips.
"Before the [championship game], [coach Caleb Porter] told us two things," said the Zips' Michael Nanchoff. "He asked us to promise him that we leave everything on the field -- no regrets about how we played. Then he asked us to remember that the players on the team will be our friends for life."
"I wanted to continue our family's legacy here," he said. "But it's not like my father or uncle told me where to go. I picked it. They told me that it was my time to shine, no matter where I went."
The junior smiled as he thought of all the great Akron teams -- 25 have made the NCAA tournament -- and how this one delivered the national title.
"With all the stuff going on with LeBron and everything, it's great for this area to have something like this," said Nanchoff.
Porter said the 5-foot-8, 150-pound Nanchoff was not intensely recruited by the elite college programs.
"They thought he was too small," he said. "Of course, I looked at his family pedigree. But I also watched him play. He had great passion, skill and instincts for the game. It was the same with Scott [Caldwell, who's 5-foot-8, 145 pounds]. He scored the winning goal for us, and he was supposed to be too small."
Stow's Ben Speas was a star at Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy before picking Akron over soccer powers such as North Carolina, Indiana and Virginia.
"Staying home gave me the best chance to win a national title," said Speas.
Think about that for a moment. Porter has been able to convince elite soccer players that Akron is a powerhouse. For years, the Zips have been one of the best in the Mid-American Conference. Former coach Ken Lolla (whose Louisville team lost to Akron in the finals) consistently led the Zips into the tournament before Porter arrived five years ago.
In 1986, the Zips lost in the Finals. But that 1986 team was their only final four appearance before the last two seasons.
The game has really changed at the university in downtown Akron.
They're a family, with no regrets
The 35-year-old Porter was a star at Indiana, then an assistant coach on a team that won two national titles. He came to Akron because he believed championships could happen here. Otherwise, he'd have waited for a better offer.
His recruiting skills and contacts combined with a university that embraced soccer, realizing that it could be special to Akron.
The Zips put $2 million into Lee Jackson Field, where they averaged 3,194 fans. That was the second-highest average attendance in the country -- only UC-Santa Barbara (6,600) was a bigger draw. Between the new dressing rooms in InfoCision Stadium and the superb soccer stadium, the Zips believe they can duel with any program in the country and "win the right way," to quote the coach.
"Before the [championship game], [Porter] told us two things," said Nanchoff. "He asked us to promise him that we leave everything on the field -- no regrets about how we played. Then he asked us to remember that the players on the team will be our friends for life."
Nanchoff said the second part really became reality after the game, when the team went to the beach.
"To celebrate, we ran into the [Pacific] ocean," he said. "Some guys had their uniforms still on. The coaches, the staff, all of us went right in. The water was cold. We were laughing. It was a real moment to remember."
A championship moment to be forever savored, one that no other Akron team had ever experienced before.
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby peeker643 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:57 am

All due respect to the U of A soccer team in what truly is a tremendous accomplishment, but I think Terry Pluto may have found his niche as a college soccer writer.

It seems to be a fitting end to a career that is limping toward a lazy finish.

Even a piece that should have been moving and enjoyable wasn't. The Zips deserved better than that tired effort.
"Great minds think alike. The opposite is also true."

"None of us is as dumb as all of us."


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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:27 pm

Yeah I thought he was a little disconnected. Like he was forced to write about something besides baseball. I was more interested in the other's quotes.

Here's another

http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/soccer-blog/comments/273
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:19 pm

From Soccer by Ives

When the University of Akron lifted its first NCAA men’s soccer championship last Sunday, it wasn’t just verification of the Zips’ status as one of the most talented teams ever seen on the college level. It was also the well-earned vindication of a coach who still believes in the value of the college game, and its importance in the American soccer landscape.

Caleb Porter said no to Major League Soccer and the head coaching job with D.C. United a year ago. He passed on the chance to coach the most successful team in MLS history for the opportunity to keep teaching and grooming young players on the college level. Porter turned down an offer to coach D.C. United in order to stick with Akron University.

Even as he rumbled along on a day-long bus ride from Akron to North Carolina at the start of the college season, Porter couldn’t say enough about how important his role as a teacher of the game still was, and what it meant to him to be a college coach.

The fruits of Porter’s labor were there for all to see last weekend, when Akron won an NCAA title playing attractive, technically sound soccer that was a far cry from the kick-and-run style associated with the college game in generations past. Akron’s victory wasn’t just an honor for Porter, but also a nod to college soccer’s continued importance in American soccer’s player development structure.

College soccer faces justifiable criticism for its quirky rules, such as timeouts and substitution re-entries, as well as its restrictions on matches and practice time, but the fact remains college soccer has played a vital role in American soccer’s growth, even though some would rather blame the college system for being inadequate.

To blame college soccer for the slow growth in the sport in this country is like criticizing a foster parent for not being a biological parent. College soccer has filled the void left by an absence of a professional player development system, a void that is only now being filled as MLS teams finally establish academies and MLS is finally moving toward taking on the responsibility faced by professional leagues in all other soccer nations.

In the meantime, college soccer has produced generations of top players, with current standouts such as Clint Dempsey, Stuart Holden and Maurice Edu having been developed through the American system. It continues to produce quality talent for the pros, as evidenced by the past two MLS Drafts, which were among the strongest in league history.

Then you have the 2010 Akron Zips, with a lineup boasting as many as six players who could be first-round draft picks in next month’s MLS Draft. It is a squad featuring future U.S. national team prospects such as Perry Kitchen, Kofi Sarkodie and Zarek Valentin, as well standout international pro prospects like Darlington Nagbe and Darren Mattocks.

Credit for building such a powerhouse in Ohio goes to Porter, a product of long-time college dynasty Indiana University and the most highly-regarded young American soccer coach this side of Jason Kreis. His ability to work with young players and his emphasis on an attacking style of soccer led D.C. United to try and make him the youngest head coach in MLS history last year before he passed on the offer to sign a long-term deal with Akron.

More offers are sure to come, but Porter isn’t likely to go anywhere any time soon. He knows the volatility of professional jobs (Curt Onalfo, the man who eventually took the D.C. United job, lasted half a season before being let go), and at 35, Porter believes he can still wait on the pros.

With several of his best players looking like safe bets to leave school early, Porter will have the fresh task of rebuilding his powerhouse yet again, and proving that his philosophy and his system can continue to produce entertaining soccer and polished players.

Porter and Akron aren’t alone in helping college grow stronger. Established powers like Maryland and UCLA continue to produce pro-caliber talent, while coaches such as Ken Lolla at Louisville and Steve Burns at Michigan have established programs to the list of those pro scouts can turn to for players.

MLS Academies have already begun tapping into the nation’s considerable talent, and pro teams will start devoting more roster spots to academy players who bypass college altogether, but college soccer isn’t going to suddenly fade away though. Even when all MLS teams in America are running strong academies there still won’t be enough of them to cover a country the size of the United States.

For that reason, college soccer will remain a vital part of the player development system in America and coaches like Caleb Porter will continue to play significant roles in producing the type of soccer and players that will help the sports continued growth in the United States.
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:45 am

Three Zips are expected to go in the first six picks of the MLS draft.

http://www.draftsite.com/mls/index.php?draft=2011
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:17 pm

University of Akron junior defender Kofi Sarkodie was named Player of the Year by Soccer America Friday. It is the third consecutive season an Akron player has received the esteemed award from the national publication.

It is also the third significant recognition Sarkodie has received following the Zips' national championship season. The native of Huber Heights and Hermann Trophy semifinalist was named the 2010 ESPN Academic All-American of the Year as well as an NSCAA First Team All-American previously. Sarkodie follows Teal Bunbury (2009) and Steve Zakuani (2008) as the only players in school history to win player of the year honors from Soccer America.

As one of the most dynamic players in the country, Sarkodie recorded a career-high eight goals and six assists in 22 games from his outside back position.

In all, he finished with five game-winning goals, which was the second-highest total on the team. Sarkodie led the Zips to the national championship game with a header in the 74th minute to defeat Michigan in the NCAA semifinal (Dec. 10) after recording his first career hat trick against the Wolverines in a 7-1 rout during the regular season (Oct. 19).

Sarkodie also netted the decisive blow in a penalty-kick shootout against Cal in the NCAA quarterfinals (Dec. 4) to advance UA to the College Cup for the second consecutive year. Akron (22-1-2) captured the first team national championship in any sport with a 1-0 victory over Louisville in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Dec. 12.

Ampaipitakwong, Nagbe Also Recognized
Sarkodie was joined by senior midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong and junior striker Darlington Nagbe on the Soccer America's MVP First Team. UA's three honorees were the most by any school.

Ampaipitakwong is a two-time NSCAA All-American and became the school's first winner of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in 2010. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I men's soccer coaches, national soccer media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in NCAA Division I men's soccer. The native of Carrollton, Texas, was named to the All-Mid-American Conference First Team all four years at UA and was a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy in each of the last two seasons. Ampaipitakwong is the Zips' all-time leader for games played (93) and finished his career with 17 goals and 30 assists.

Nagbe, who is one of three finalists for the Hermann Trophy, is another two-time NSCAA All-American after earning first-team recognition in 2010. The native of Lakewood, Ohio, paced Akron's vaunted attack with a career-high 13 assists, which was ranked 10th among all Division players. Moreover, of his 13 assists, six set up game-winning goals, including helpers against Wake Forest (Sept. 3), Cal State Northridge (Sept. 17), Oakland (Oct. 6), Michigan (Oct. 19), Michigan State (Nov. 3) and West Virginia (Nov. 21).

Nagbe also netted a pair of game-winning goals himself with the decisive strike in a pair of big wins against No. 9 Creighton (Oct. 27) and Western Michigan (Nov. 14) in the MAC Tournament championship game. In all, Nagbe netted seven goals on the year while starting all 25 games up top for UA.

Soccer America's MVPs were introduced in 1976 and honor the players who have had the biggest impact on their team's success regardless of position.

Kitchen, Mattocks Garner Freshman Honors
Soccer America also named midfielder Perry Kitchen and striker Darren Mattocks to its All-Freshman First Team Friday. The Zips were the only school in the country to land two players on the first team.

Kitchen, who was recently called into the January U.S. U-20 national team camp, appeared in all 25 games as the Zips' starting defensive midfielder. The native of Indianapolis finished with six goals – including the game-winning strike against Cal State Northridge (Sept. 17) – and one assist in 2010. Kitchen was particularly dangerous in the postseason with beautiful, long-range goals against Cal in the NCAA quarterfinal (Dec. 4) and against Michigan at the College Cup (Dec. 10).

Mattocks developed into one of the most feared strikers in the country with a team-high 18 goals, which was tied for the third-highest total in the nation. The Jamaican native scored multiple goals in four contests in 2010 while netting his first hat trick in a 4-0 win over Buffalo (Oct. 16). Mattocks was the second highest scoring freshman in the country (Michigan's Soony Saad had 19) with a team-leading six game-winning goals. He also finished with five assists and was ranked 13th for points-per-game average nationally (1.64).
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:56 pm

Five underclassmen from The University of Akron men's soccer 2010 national championship team have signed contracts with Generation adidas and will enter the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

Junior striker Darlington Nagbe, junior midfielder Michael Nanchoff, junior defender Kofi Sarkodie, sophomore defender Zarek Valentin and freshman midfielder Perry Kitchen will each forgo their remaining eligibility to turn professional. The five UA starters collectively represent the most early signees from a single team in MLS history.

"This is an exciting day for the entire Akron soccer program and certainly a dream come true for this special group of Zips players," said UA head coach Caleb Porter, who recently signed a 10-year contract extension. "It wasn't surprising after winning the national championship that MLS identified several players as being ready for the next level. Certainly, this could be perceived as bittersweet losing so many quality underclassmen at one time but when a player is offered the coveted Generation adidas contract it gives them the best platform to enter professional soccer and I am nothing but happy for them."

Generation Adidas is a joint venture between Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer aimed at raising the level of young soccer talent in the United States. The program, sponsored by adidas, encourages early entry (without college graduation) of American players into MLS. Entering into the program automatically classifies a player as professional and thus, disqualifies them from playing college soccer. As a result, Generation adidas players are also guaranteed scholarships to continue their college education should their professional career not pan out.

"I think its important for people to understand its not so much that these young men were looking to leave Akron or that they are prioritizing a soccer career over school," Porter said. "It's more of a case that the Generation adidas program gives them the incredible opportunity to have the best of both worlds with the way these contracts are structured. They will receive a guaranteed multi-year contract and as a part of the program each player is provided an educational grant to finish out their degrees when the time is right."

It is the third consecutive season an Akron player has signed one of the coveted GA contracts. Steve Zakuani was the first to do it in 2008 and teammates Teal Bunbury and Blair Gavin followed in 2009. Zakuani was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2009 draft and the first ever selection of the expansion Seattle Sounders. Bunbury was drafted No. 4 overall by Kansas City in 2010 while Gavin went a few picks later, No. 10 overall to Chivas USA.

"Obviously, for the vast majority of college soccer players four years and graduation is the only option," Porter said. "For a select few who are talented enough to be offered this type of opportunity, it becomes a very hard thing to pass up. It's actually quite an honor for our program to now have had eight players receive this same path into MLS. This should bode well for what Akron soccer is doing to develop players and hopefully makes a strong statement to future recruits looking for the best soccer environment possible."

Until 2005, the GA program was sponsored by Nike and was called Project-40. It is just the third time in the program's history - dating back to 1997 - more than two players have been selected from the same team. Maryland and Virginia each had three players signed in 2008 and 1997, respectively.

"We want to wish Kofi, Darlington, Michael, Zarek and Perry all the best and appreciate their contributions to making history with the program. My staff and I will miss working with them and I know our fans will miss watching them in the Akron uniform. I know they will continue to be tremendous ambassadors for the University of Akron during their professional careers and I'm looking forward to following their success."

Along with departing seniors Anthony Ampaipitakwong and Chris Korb, who have both been invited to participate in the MLS Draft Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., next month, the Zips are expected to have as many as seven players selected in the MLS SuperDraft, which will be held in Baltimore, Md., on Jan. 13.

The 2010 Zips (22-1-2) captured the first team national championship in school history in any sport on Dec. 12 with a 1-0 victory over Louisville in Santa Barbara, Calf. It was also just the third team national championship in Mid-American Conference history and the first since Western Michigan's cross country team won back-to-back titles in 1964 and 1965.
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Re: Akron makes the College Cup Final 4!!!

Unread postby Spin » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:46 pm

ST. LOUIS - For the second consecutive season, the nation's best collegiate soccer player comes from The University of Akron. This was confirmed Friday night when Zips' junior Darlington Nagbe was presented the Hermann Trophy at the Missouri Athletic Club.

The Hermann Trophy is considered the most prestigious honor in intercollegiate soccer and is the official National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Player of the Year award for Division I competition. Nagbe, a two-time NSCAA All-American, was one of three finalists for the award, along with Indiana's Will Bruin, who was the first runner-up, and Louisville's Colin Rolfe.

"It feels great," said Nagbe about winning the award. "The two other finalists are great players. But I'm especially grateful for the honor because any one of my teammates could have been up here accepting this award instead of me."

Nagbe, a native of Lakewood, Ohio, earned the prestigious recognition after Teal Bunbury, who earned his first cap with the United States full national team last November, became the first player in UA history to win the award a year ago. In all, Akron is just the fifth school in the history of the men's player of the year award to record consecutive winners and the first since Virginia in 1995-96.

Nagbe also represents the third UA finalist in as many years for the Hermann Trophy as current Major League Soccer star Steve Zakuani was the first runner-up for the signature crystal ball following the 2008 season.

"Having three different players in three consecutive years make the final three – and two win it – says a lot about the talent we have and the talent we're developing," said UA head coach Caleb Porter. "This has been a magical season and this award is the icing on the cake. I'm really happy for Darlington because it couldn't have happened to a better kid. He's worked so hard for this."

Nagbe, the 2010 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year, led Akron to its first team national championship in any sport last December in Santa Barbara, Calif., with a 1-0 victory over Louisville. The skillful striker paced the Zips' vaunted attack with a career-high 13 assists, which was ranked seventh among all Division I players. Moreover, six of Nagbe's helpers set up game-winning goals for Akron, which averaged 2.56 goals/game as a team (ranked third nationally).

"Darlington's not necessarily a guy people will appreciate based solely on stats," Porter said. "But if anyone comes to see him play, you notice his quality, his gifts and talents. You'll see him do things that nobody can do. I can honestly say that of all the college players I've coached, he does things in practice and game-in and game-out that I've never seen anybody do. And it's the subtle things: the touches, the change of pace, the balance, how he gets out of pressure. He's a playmaker. Playmakers aren't always looking to score goals, they're looking to make plays; and Darlington makes plays through his possession, his vision and his touches. He was a key player for us and a big part of our success."

Nagbe's chemistry with first-year Jamaican striker Darren Mattocks was key to the Zips' attack up top as the two combined for 25 goals, including eight game-winners, and 18 assists. Nagbe, who finished fourth on the team with seven goals, was named to the College Cup All-Tournament Team and earned All-American status from College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer.

"Darlington and Darren were a lethal combination," Porter said. "It was the perfect tandem because Darren's always looking to get behind, stretch the field and go to the goal; and Darlington's going to check, hold the ball, link to the midfielders and also roll, drive and slip Darren. Darren's working the space behind the back four and Darlington's working the space in front of the back four. That made it very difficult for teams to deal with."

Nagbe was one of five Akron underclassmen to sign professional contracts with Generation adidas last month and will forgo his final year of eligibility to enter the 2011 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, which will be held in Baltimore, Md., on Jan. 13. Live Coverage will be provided by ESPN2, starting at Noon (EST).

Each of UA's previous two Hermann Trophy finalists did not wait long to hear their names called at the MLS draft as Zakuani was selected No. 1 overall in 2009 and Bunbury went No. 4 overall in 2010. Nagbe is expected to follow suit.

"It's been neat to see those three guys, who all played together and were friends, grow and develop," Porter said. "I think Steve paved the way and inspired Teal and Darlington to follow. Then when Steve left, Teal emerged. When Teal left, it was Darlington's time to step up and now they're going to all play in the MLS together."

With a brand of play that is attractive and attack-oriented, yet effective on both sides of the ball, the Zips once again took the college world by storm in 2010 - earning a pair of shutout road victories over No. 4 North Carolina (3-0) and No. 3 Wake Forest (2-0) - in the first weekend of the season. UA then pushed its shutout streak to 11 consecutive games - matching an NCAA record - with a 4-0 rout of No. 2 Tulsa in September before 4,744 fans at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field. A 1-0 victory over No. 9 Creighton and a 7-1 rout of Michigan highlighted the remainder of the regular season as the Zips finished the year with just one loss to its name.

By running the table with a perfect 13-0 record at home, Akron matched another Division I milestone, extending its home unbeaten streak to 39 games (38-0-1), as it dispatched West Virginia, Indiana and California to earn a trip to the College Cup for the second consecutive year. In addition to winning the first team national championship in school history, the Zips (22-1-2) also became just the third program to do so in Mid-American Conference history – and the first in 45 years.

The Missouri Athletic Club has been presenting college soccer's players of the year awards since 1986. The MAC was established in 1903 as an athletic, dining and social club. It has a "Platinum Club of America" status, which is awarded to the top private clubs in the country.

Based in Kansas City, Kan., the NSCAA is the largest coaches' organization in the world. Since its founding in 1941, it has grown to include more than 30,000 members who coach both genders at all levels of the sport. In addition to a national rankings program for colleges and high schools, NSCAA offers an extensive recognition program that presents nearly 10,000 individual awards every year. It fulfills its mission of coaching education through a nationwide program of clinics and week-long courses, teaching more than 6,000 soccer coaches each year.
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