HUNTINGTON — For the third-straight academic year, Marshall University’s men’s and women’s soccer teams both earned the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award, the organization announced Thursday.
Marshall is one of 172 collegiate programs in all divisions which had both the men’s and women’s teams awarded. The Thundering Herd joined Charlotte as the two Conference USA programs to have both teams honored.
The United Soccer Coaches hand out the Team Academic Award each year to the teams that finish with a team grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
“Fantastic achievement from the lads,” MU men’s head coach Chris Grassie said. “This shows they are building a culture of excellence. They have two jobs when they get here: perform in the classroom and perform on the pitch. Any trophies and awards in those categories they should strive for. We’ve won a lot of trophies on the pitch recently, so it’s nice that we can balance it out with team awards for their collective achievement in the classroom.”
Women’s coach Michael Swan expressed similar sentiments.
“We strive for academic excellence within the program,” Swan said. “To receive this award so early in the semester, sets us up for the remainder of the year and provides a great platform to go on to further successes. Every year we set an academic goal to be one of the top programs, not just at Marshall, but within the conference and in the nation. This is a huge part of the blueprint of our recruiting, to bring in student-athletes who are driven both academically and athletically. By succeeding both in the classroom and on the field, we will build a culture that is driven by success in all aspects of being a student-athlete here at Marshall University.”
This is the 10th time the men’s team has been honored since 2002. The Herd finished the 2019-20 academic year with a team GPA of 3.30 and adds on to what was already a historic season.
Along with the on-field accolades, Marshall piled up individual classroom awards as well, as 2019 seniors Illal Osmanu and Paulo Pita along with junior Pedro Dolabella were named to the United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-Region Team, and Osmanu was recognized as a Scholar All-American. Jonas Westmeyer, another 2019 senior, earned a CoSIDA Academic All-American award. Dolabella and senior Carlos Diaz-Salcedo were named to the C-USA All-Academic Team. Twenty-two players were named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll for a GPA of 3.0 or higher with five also earning the Academic Medal for a GPA of 3.75 or better.
Since 1998, Marshall women’s soccer has earned the United Soccer Coaches Academic Award 21 times. The squad finished the 2019-20 academic year with a team GPA of 3.41. The program totaled 26 players listed on the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll with 10 also earning the Academic Medal.