2016 San Antonio Soccer Awards

USL Orange County Blues FC at San Antonio FC

San Antonio Soccer Awards Player of the Year: Stephen McCarthy (Photo: San Antonio FC)

2016 was a phenomenally big and busy year for soccer in San Antonio with lots of news and a brand new team. Ultimately San Antonio FC fell just short of the playoffs but created plenty of highlights along the way, and those are recognized in the 2016 San Antonio soccer awards.

Story of the Year: San Antonio FC’s season

Okay, so we’re cheating here a little bit, in 2015 this was perhaps the closest fought award, and in 2016 it proved even harder. So yes, this isn’t an individual story, but no individual story could be pinpointed that was as big as this one. San Antonio FC’s existence fundamentally altered the soccer scene in San Antonio and their rollercoaster ride of a season kept everyone excited until the bitter end in Edinburg.

Non-San Antonio Team of the Year: Swope Park Rangers

There was certainly plenty of contenders for this award, but in the end Swope Park Rangers’ incredible run to the United Soccer League (USL) championship game pushed them over the edge. They entertained when they played at Toyota Field, and they had a phenomenal season. Rio Grande Toros FC could also have been mentioned here but their playoff collapse hurt them. FC Dallas also get an honorable mention here but as they did not play in San Antonio they are not included in consideration.

Signing of the Year: Rafael Castillo

Castillo had a strong season, although that is not why he is the winner of this award, although his on-field performances were certainly a factor. Castillo’s signing by San Antonio FC as one of the first players announced was a phenomenally astute move from the club. It created a subtle link between the old club and brought some skeptical fans on board. There is more to signing a player than just what they can do on field, there are also commercial concerns to consider and in Castillo San Antonio FC was able to hit both on and off field concerns in a player.

Amateur Team of the Year: Reagan Boys

The first time a varsity team is being recognized by the San Antonio soccer awards, the Rattlers had another strong season, earning 10 places on the All-District Teams. Coach Gilbert Villarreal also earned Coach of the Year honors as he lead the Rattlers to the regional final, losing only on a goal with just three minutes to play.

College Team of the Year: Trinity Women

It was an agonizing end to the season for Trinity’s women, falling in the national quarter finals on their own pitch, to the eventual champions. That said, the Tigers had a phenomenal season, that quarter-final loss the only loss of the season as they continued to excel, building a strong program that looks set to contend for a national title again next year.

Game of the Year: San Antonio FC v Swope Park Rangers 4/9/2016

Yet again the best match of the year occurred in April, this time it was a club match as San Antonio FC played their first ever home league match. The atmosphere was electric, despite San Antonio FC conceding just two minutes in. The crowd of 8,466 set a Toyota Field Record, with San Antonio FC coming from behind in a 1-1 draw. In 20 years there will be 18,466 people claiming they were there, keep your ticket stub!

Goal of the Year: Franck Tayou Bicycle (9/17/2016 v Tulsa Roughnecks)

Needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, Tayou scored one of his most crucial goals against Tulsa. Sure they left him wide open for the finish, but his acrobatic finish was out of the blue, with San Antonio fans not used to seeing him score goals like that. Castillo’s free-kick against LA Galaxy II was a very close second, but bicycles have a strong record in this category, and being in general play helped Tayou claim the win.

Administrator of the Year: Tim Holt (San Antonio FC)

This is no doubt the lowest of Holt’s many accolades from a very successful career as a soccer administrator but it’s one that he deserves for all he has done for soccer in San Antonio this year. Holt comes in as a phenomenal administrator who has greatly improved the back office of pro soccer in San Antonio, following from the disaster that was Howard Cornfield, creating a successful on and off field product that can no doubt stand the test of time.

Coach of the Year: Dylan Harrison (Trinity Women)

In a year with two coaches new to San Antonio this was a difficult decision but in the end Harrison just edged out Darren Powell for the award. Harrison led Trinity, in his first season back at his alma mater, to an almost perfect season, losing just once, the national quarter-finals. While it was a bitter end to the season, Harrison has proven his credentials, deserving to be at a strong school like Trinity, and he seems on track to fill the big shoes of former coach Lance Key.

College Player of the Year: Laurence Wyke (Trinity Men)

Trinity had a number of strong candidates for this award but in the end Wyke’s consistency pushed him over the edge. Wyke was strong at the back for the season, but was also able to push forward, providing a number of goals and assists. Wyke was named a first-team All-American at the end of the season, and as just a sophomore has a strong shot at backing up for this award.

Player of the Year: Stephen McCarthy (San Antonio FC)

Another tough award in 2016, with a number of players making strong arguments for winning this award. In the end McCarthy just edged it as his strong defensive performances were vital for San Antonio FC keeping them alive. What clinched it was how much the defense struggled without him there and his leadership. McCarthy has re-signed for 2017 and San Antonio FC will be hoping he can remain fit for the season.

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Five Trinity Players Named All-Americans

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

Trinity has had five of their players named to All-American squads announced on Thursday, two men and one woman were named first team all-Americans while two men were on the second team. Laurence Wyke and Austin Michaelis (both sophomores) were named to the first team along with Yasmeen Farra on the women’s side while defending all-American Christian Sakshaug (sophomore) and Kellen Reid (junior) were named second team All-Americans.

Wyke had a strong season at both ends of the field, being a strong member of the Tigers defense through the season. At the other end of the field Wyke scored seven goals and provided two assists through the season and earned Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Michaelis was a vital member of Trinity’s attacking play, often providing the ball before he would be credited with an assist. Michaelis also led the team with 11 goals, and provided nine assists for Trinity earning Conferense Offensive Player of the Year.

Trinity’s other first team All-American is Yasmeen Farra the senior midfielder capping her final season with the honor. Farra scored 14 goals, leading the team and both programs, while also managing seven assists. Winning the All-American award comes as her second honor of the season after winning the Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Shakshuag improved on his 2015 All-American third-team honor as a freshman moving up to the 2016 second team. Shakshaug led the Tigers with 11 assists and scored two goals for the season continuing his impressive early collegiate career performances.

Reid was a vital captain in the middle of the Trinity defense, often getting his work done in a way that doesn’t get noticed. But the voters noticed and named him to the second team after a notable five assists.

Four Trinity Women Named to NSCAA All Region Teams

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

Four Trinity women’s players have been named in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-West Region team, announced on Tuesday. Yasmeen Farra, Julia Kelly and Julia Camp were all named in the first team while Colleen Markey was named to the second team.

Farra was the golden boot for Trinity in her senior season as she scored 14 goals through the season, half of them classified as game winners. On top of that she had seven assists and earned Conferense Offensive Player of the Season honors.

Camp was closely behind Farra, scoring 12 goals but had more assists, with eight in another strong season. Camp had a strong season and will return for Trinity next season for her senior season looking to continue winning accolades.

Kelly wrapped up the Tigers who were named in the all-region first team after scoring eight goals and providing three assists. One of those goals opened the season and was the goal of the season for Trinity while she also contributed to a strong Trinity defense, as a holding midfielder, the Tigers only allowed eight goals all season.

For Markey, she has received second team all-region honors for the second season in a row after a strong season on the wing for the Tigers. Markey managed seven goals and seven assists in her junior season building to hopefully push in to the first team in her senior season.

While Trinity’s season ended in disappointment in the NCAA Quarter-Finals that was an improvement on a second round exit in 2015. 2017 will be head coach Dylan Harrison’s second season and with more of his recruits the side will be able to kick on again and remain in contention for a national championship next year.

Trinity men see Season end to Kenyon in Round of 16

Kenyon celebrate their third goal Photo: Kenyon University Athletics

Trinity University men’s soccer saw their season come to an end on Saturday afternoon as they fell to fifth ranked Kenyon at Tufts. Kenyon were dominant as they managed a 4-0 win over the Tigers, using a big second half to tear Trinity apart.

After three straight seasons in the final eight, the Tigers had high hopes of making it to Salem in two weeks’ time. But Kenyon came out determined in conditions there were more suited to and won the match convincingly the number five team upsetting the number three team.

In the 40th minute Kenyon’s pressure told as Billy O’Neill opened the scoring as the first half started wearing down. Greg McNeer sent in the ball which found O’Neill who buried the opportunity forcing Trinity to require a comeback.

Two minutes in to the second half things got harder for Trinity as Kenyon was able to double their lead and make things difficult for the Tigers. Jordan Glassman was able to send a ball in for Woo Jeon who buried the opportunity to make it 2-0 to Kenyon.

The match was well and truly sealed for Kenyon in the 53rd minute as they were able to score a third goal. That saw Jeon seal his brace as he did all the work himself, creating the space for the opportunity to give Kenyon their third.

Trinity started the match the stronger side, with Brent Mandlekorn looking a likely outlet for the Tigers coming from set-pieces. Trinity won several corners in the early going but they could not result in goals, the best chance being a header from Laurence Wyke that went high and wide.

The first half was a very stop-start affair as the two teams were giving away a number of fouls which broke up the flow of the match. Kenyon started to take charge of the match in the final 20 minutes of the first half.

Trinity fought hard in the final five minutes of the half as they looked to find a goal to pull back in to the match. First Ryan Hunter had a chance before Kellen Reid had a chance of his own in the final 20 seconds but both chances were saved by Sam Clougher in the Kenyon goal.

Sitting three goals down just before the hour mark, Trinity was forced to go for it, trying to get a goal which would pull them back in to the match. Chris Madden went close twice for the Tigers in the 56th minute, first seeing an effort saved before sending one just wide.

It was all Trinity in the final half hour of the match but they were unable to capitalize and in the 87th minute Kenyon had their fourth. Will Bennett was able to find Greg McNeer who scored the fourth, up against Chris Morrish to seal their passage to the quarter-final.

Five Trinity Players Earn Academic All-District Honors

Todd Whittaker (Photo: Trinity University Athletics)

Five Trinity players were honored by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on Thursday as they were named to the Soccer Division III Academic All-District 8 First Teams. Four of the women, and one man received the honors getting named to the squads, which now makes them eligible to be Academic All-Americans.

Julia camp has been a strong leader for the Tigers both on and off the field as she has managed 10 goals and seven assists. On top of that her off-field work has also been of high quality managing a grade point average (GPA) of 3.76 as she seeks an English degree.

The other strong goal scorer, Yasmeen Farra, reigning offensive player of the week has also been named to the team as she has managed 11 goals and four assists. That comes with a GPA of 3.47, impressive in an Engineering science program.

Jordan Leeper has managed one goal and seven assists this season, helped by being the taker of the majority of the set-pieces. Leeper is studying communications and in her final year she is managing a GPA of 3.75.

Hannah Booher is the final women’s player in the squad as she has managed two goals and three assists so far this season.  Booher has the highest GPA of the quartet, managing a 3.86 in her Biology studies, while contributing defensively for the Tigers.

For the men the lone honoree was Todd Whittaker, the starting goalkeeper for the men’s side who has made 38 saves in the 17 matches this season. In his studies Whittaker has been excelling in his Chemistry work as the Australian begins to wrap up his senior year.

Yasmeen Farra Claims SCAC Offensive Player of the Week Award

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

On the weekend where Trinity University’s women clinched the regular season title, Yasmeen Farra has won the conference offensive player of the week award. The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) gave Farra the honor on Tuesday.

The award makes it the second straight week Farra was given the honor and was a hard choice to argue against in her two goal weekend. Farra scored the game winner in both matches as the Tigers won 3-1 and 3-0 this weekend.

Farra’s first goal of the weekend came on Friday’s match against Southwestern as she was able to break the tie. With the score locked at 1-1 the Tigers won a penalty which saw a change in the taker, after missed penalties this season the new taker was Farra who stepped up and made no mistake to make it 1-1. She then added an assist on Trinity’s third goal of the match as the Tigers sealed the top seed.

Against Texas Lutheran Farra again was credited with a game winner as she scored the first goal of the match on Sunday. From there Trinity cruised and won the match 3-0 to seal the SCAC regular season title.

Farra is leading the Trinity golden boot race with 11 goals, she has added to that with four assists, making her a crucial member of the squad, and a strong candidate for the SCAC offensive player of the year award. She will have two more chances to stake a claim for that award as Trinity finish their regular season this weekend on the road to Schreiner and University of Dallas.

Trinity Women use big First Half to get Past Schreiner

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

Trinity women kept up their perfect record, continuing their case to push higher up the NCAA rankings as they managed a 3-0 win over Schreiner. The win came on the back of a strong first half, and an even stronger defensive performance, with Schreiner not managing a single shot all match.

Two strong defenses did battle through the first 20 minutes of the match, but Trinity always seemed to have a measure of control of the match. The Mountaineers struggled to really get out, and when they did a lack of support killed their chances, which made defensive life easy for the Tigers.

Trinity had plenty of chances in the early stages as they were whipping the ball in to the box but they could not finish it. The Trinity attack was coming in with strong diagonal runs which was allowing them to get shots away, but they often went across the face.

But in the 20th minute one of those crosses that went across the face paid off, as Julia Camp sent a ball in. That ball came across for Chelsea Cole who made the diagonal run which fell for her to volley the ball past the keeper, in to the back of the net.

Moments late it was two for Trinity, when it really shouldn’t have been after a clear cut penalty was awarded to the Tigers. That allowed Camp to step up, she hit her penalty poorly, allowing for an easy save, but she kept her head up, ran on to the rebound and bundled it home.

There was another quick substitute goal, with a substitute breaking the record for the quickest goal from a substitute for the third time this year. Meredith Licata came on as a substitute and 15 seconds later scored a stunning goal. Licata received the ball from a throw launching it powerfully over the keeper from the edge of the area to make it 3-0 heading in to half time.

The second half saw an improved effort from Schreiner, who was looking much stronger defensively, showing why they only had one loss in the conference going in. But still Trinity dominated the match, as much as they struggled to create big chances in the second half.

With a three goal lead Trinity was able to go to their bench and give more players game time, which saw encouraging signs for the Trinity bench. That domination continued with their bench on the field, and despite the lack of goals in the second half that will encourage Trinity going forward.

Trinity men Manage big Second Half to Stay Perfect

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

A strong second half allowed Trinity’s men’s team to show why they are the number one team in the country on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers managed a big 4-0 win over UT-Dallas to continue their perfect season, scoring all four goals in the second half.

It was a dominant performance from Trinity, even in the first half, but throughout the whole first half Dallas held out well. Daniel Ruano was looking dangerous for Trinity in the first half, perhaps reflecting how heavily marked the men in the box were, as Ruano was shooting from outside the box.

The Comets defense was doing very well, keeping the match tight, restricting Trinity well in one of the best defensive performances against the Tigers this season. The match was stuck in the midfield, forcing Trinity to either shoot from distance or try to pass it around but they could not find many shots.

Just over one minute in to the second half Trinity was able to open the scoring, finally breaking down a strong Comets defense. Brady Johnson was able to send the ball in for Austin Michaelis who sent the ball past the keeper.

That saw things really start to open up, which allowed Trinity to double their lead in the 56th minute with Johnston involved again. This time it was Ruano who he found with a good ball, allowing Ruano to bury the chance.

Dallas started to tighten up after conceding twice but it was still the Tigers who were controlling possession. In the 74th minute they made it three as Michaelis turned provider as he set up Kellen Reid for the goal.

Five minutes from time Trinity was able to wrap up the big win as Vetle Masvaer Halle scored his first collegiate goal. The defender got forward and was able to get on the end of Donovan Smith’s cross, easily scoring the final goal for the 4-0 win.

Julia Kelly Wins SCAC Player of the Week Honors

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

Trinity midfielder Julia Kelly has earned herself the co-defensive player of the week award in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The award was issued by the league office on Monday following another set of strong performances from Trinity.

The Tigers managed to keep two clean sheets over the weekend, with a 1-0 win over Southwestern and a 4-0 win over Texas Lutheren. Kelly was a key part of that back-line which recorded their fourth straight clean sheet.

Through the ten perfect matches so far this season, Trinity’s women have conceded just three goals in strong defensive performances. Kelly has been a vital part of this, acting as the main pivot from defense in to attack, including scoring the first goal of the season.

As often happens in deciding which Trinity player will be given the honor, Kelly probably edged it due to her offensive play. Kelly had the only goal against Southwestern and an assist against Texas Lutheran on Sunday afternoon.

Kelly was a co-defensive player of the week as Schreiner’s goalkeeper, Jordin Toso was also given the award. Toso kept two clean sheets over the weekend managing seven saves in the two matches, including a full 110 minutes against TLU.

That sets up an interesting story line for Friday’s match as the two co-defensive players of the week take each other on in a tight match. An honorable mention for this week was an opponent of Trinity as Mary Cardone, goalkeeper at Southwestern managed 16 saves in the weekend, but the SCAC voters somehow believed Toso’s seven were more worthy of winning the award.

Mandlekorn and Wyke see Trinity Sweep SCAC Player of the Week Awards

Photo: Trinity University Athletics

Trinity have yet again managed a sweep of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) men’s player of the week awards announced on Monday. Brent Mandlekorn claimed the offensive player of the week award while Laurence Wyke claimed the defensive player of the week.

It was a strong week from Mandlekorn who managed to score twice and provide two assists through two matches. His first assist came on Friday night against Southwestern when he provided an assist on Daniel Ruano’s goal, the third of the match.

Mandlekorn’s three other contributions came in the match against TLU, where he scored both the first and last goal of the match. The first goal was the better of the two heading home after a volley across the face, before he set up a similar goal for the second of the match for Guy Harris.

The defensive award was won by Wyke who was a part of the Tigers defensive line, which pushed on to further their clean sheet streak. Trinity have gone through their last six matches without a goal as they have maintained strong defense.

Wyke also proved useful in the match offensively, which is often what sets apart a Trinity defender to win the award over his team mates. Wyke had the game winner against Southwestern with a penalty kick to open the scoring.

In the match against Texas Luthern Wyke added to his strong offensive weekend with an assist after his cross to Brent Mandlekorn gave him an assist on Guy Harris’ goal. Wyke also continued his strong defensive performances and continued to avoid a card through the season so far.