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L&C’s Soccer Stars Earn All-American and Player of the Year Honors

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Article by: Ariel Weinman, aweinman@lc.edu

GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College’s soccer teams are still earning accolades following the close of the 2015 season, with All-American and Player of the Year honors announced this week. 

Sophomore forward Nicole Howard, of Rolla, Missouri, was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I Women’s Soccer First Team All-American for the second year in a row. She was also named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Junior College Division I Women’s First Team All-Region for the Central Region, and to the NSCAA Women’s First Team All-American. Also the national leader in goals and points for the year, Howard is this year’s NSCAA Player of the Year.

“It’s really cool to be an All-American again,” Howard said. “I’m still speechless about being the NSCAA Player of the Year. I texted my dad yesterday and told him it feels like a dream.” 

Teammate Cassidy Foley, forward, of Quincy, Illinois, was the national leader in assists. She also made the NSCAA Junior College Division I Women’s First Team All-Region for the Central Region.

On the men’s team, freshman forward Black Cearns, from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, earned NJCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Second Team All-American honors and was named to the NSCAA Junior College Division I Men’s First Team All-North Region. Teammate Nick Johnson, goalie, of St. Charles, Missouri, was also named to the NSCAA Junior College Division I Men’s First Team All-North Region, with Lochlan Reus, a freshman mid-fielder from Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, being named NSCAA Second Team All-American. Reus led the nation in assists. 

“It means a lot. It’s all because of our teammates that we got selected to the All-Region team,” Johnson said. “I owe it all to my teammates for pushing each other and the coaches for pushing me.” 

The Trailblazers soccer teams had successful seasons with both teams qualifying for the NJCAA National Division I Tournaments. Both teams also claimed their Region and District Championships. The men’s team finished the season 18-4-1 and the women finished their season 16-4-2. 

“I think these players are very deserving,” said Tim Rooney, head coach of both teams. “Nicole had an outstanding year. For her to play with compartment syndrome and perform the way she did shows her toughness. Blake is one of the best finishers we have had here. He has great speed and strength.”

Rooney is no stranger to his players earning All-American honors. He has had more than 40 of his players become All-Americans. Under his guidance, Trailblazers soccer teams have claimed 23 Regional Championships, 11 District Championships, 11 National qualifications and two National Championships.  

“The continued success of the soccer teams is what everyone outside L&C hears about,” said L&C Athletic Director Doug Stotler. “That is only the tip of the iceberg for L&C soccer in regard to soccer success. The young men and women of those programs are also great citizens, students and ambassadors, and they move on from L&C to become productive leaders beyond soccer. Each of those players built that foundation of success on the soccer field under Tim Rooney’s guidance and nearly all were able to transfer those on-field lessons into the next phases of their lives.”

The coaches are also being recognized for their success. Rooney was nominated for NSCAA men and women’s National Head Coach of the Year and was named the men’s NSCAA Division I North Region Coach of the Year. Assistant Coach Ryan Hodge has been named the NSCAA Junior College Assistant Coach of the Year for the Central Region and was nominated for NSCAA National Assistant Coach of the Year. 

“It is really a team award,” Rooney said. “If your team does well, you will get some kind of recognition.”

For the latest Trailblazer news visit www.lc.edu/athletics.