HUNTINGTON — Marshall junior midfielder Vitor Dias is a major reason why the Thundering Herd men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Tournament this season.
On Tuesday, Dias made history, becoming the program’s first player to be named a Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy semifinalist.
Dias’ inclusion on the list was announced Tuesday afternoon by the Missouri Athletic Club. The annual award goes to the top male and female college soccer players in the U.S.
“Very happy for Vitor to be nominated,” Marshall head coach Chris Grassie said in the release. “After such a tough year dealing with COVID, and him getting stuck in Brazil for nine months, then having to spend three weeks in Mexico, all before starting this season, it’s truly a great accomplishment.”
Dias did not let the preseason issues deter his play this spring, leading the 10th-ranked Herd and Conference USA in scoring this season.
The junior from Brasilia, Brazil, has 16 points to his credit — six goals and four assists.
One of his four assists came in Sunday’s 2-1 overtime win over Fordham when he sent a touch back in the box to Milo Yosef, who scored the match’s first goal in the 25th minute.
Grassie said Dias’ work on both ends has led him to the accolades he has received.
“He’s a great player and is really fun to watch,” Grassie said. “He also always does his defensive work, which sometimes goes unnoticed as his attacking play is so eye-catching. Very happy for another program first, and let’s hope he wins the award as he’s 100 percent deserving.”
In the 2021 spring season, Dias started off hot with two goals and two assists against WVU Tech, career highs in both categories. He was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. He continued in the very next match with the game-winner against East Tennessee State.
Dias scored Marshall’s lone goal in a loss at Akron before lighting up the net for two more goals in the next match at South Carolina. He assisted on the game-winner at then-No. 11 Kentucky.
By the end of the regular season, the league noticed the talent of Dias as he was named C-USA Player of the Year, Offensive MVP, Co-Midfielder of the Year and First Team All-Conference.
The most noteworthy aspect of Dias is his efficiency on the offensive end.
Dias does not take shots very often, as he is tied for fifth-most on the team with 20. However, he makes it count when he does take a shot, as he has 12 on goal (third-most on the team) with six finding the back of the net.
Dias’ strong 2021 performance comes after a 2019 season in which he netted three goals and three assists as Marshall made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The MAC Hermann Trophy is the most prestigious individual award in college soccer and is presented annually to the most outstanding male and female players of the year.
The award this year was pushed back to accommodate the seasons that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The winners will be announced May 27 at the 2021 MAC Hermann Trophy Press Conference and Banquet taking place at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
The 10th-ranked Thundering Herd takes on No. 1 Clemson in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The match is set for 3 p.m. Thursday, May 6, on WakeMed Field No. 2 in Cary, North Carolina.