April 27, 2001
FAIRFAX, Va. - Black Issues in Higher Education has named Santa Clara soccer player Danielle Slaton its female Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year for best exemplifying the standards of scholarship, athleticism and humanitarianism. Slaton is featured in the April 26 edition of the magazine.
People around Santa Clara University know Slaton as a fierce competitor who won a spot on the U.S. Olympic women's soccer team last year. She is the kind of player who never gives out or lets up. And in the classroom, professors see that same intense focus. Despite all her traveling for soccer matches, Slaton maintains a strong A average.
Slaton, a junior psychobiology major who maintains a cumulative 3.7 grade point average, was among 28 women asked to try out for the U.S. Olympic women's soccer team last year in Sydney, Australia. Slaton left school for a couple months to train in San Diego alongside Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and other established players. Of the 28 women--18 were selected for the U.S. Olympic team--Slaton was the only college student to make the team.
Out of the classroom and off the field, Slaton, 20, is involved with the Eastside Project, tutoring English to Sierra Leona and Vietnamese refugees. She helped out with the Read to Exceed Project, sponsored by the university's athletic department. Slaton and other volunteers helped disadvantaged children with their homework. She also has participated in Nike "Yes" Clinics, teaching soccer skills to underprivileged children in the community.
Rich Manning, assistant soccer coach at Santa Clara, believes Slaton will be one of the first drafted by the Women's United Soccer Association.
"I'd like her to get into it. She would be a great role model," Manning said. "In the soccer community there are not that many African American role models. She's proud of her heritage. Here's someone who's bright and an excellent player. She brings competitiveness, but there's not a selfish bone in her body."
Slaton says soccer has always been fun for her. "It takes a lot of time and there are sacrifices. But it's worth it. There would be a real void if I wasn't doing it," Slaton said.
In 1992, Black Issues in Higher Education established the Sports Scholars Award to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.
A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people. Each year Black Issues in Higher Education invites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate in this award program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism.
To be included, students have to compete in an intercollegiate sport, maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2, a sophomore in academic standing and be active on their campuses or in their communities. This year, approximately 600 male and female student-athletes from across the country were nominated.
Archie D. Craft II, a quarterback at Langston University in Oklahoma, was named the male Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar of the Year.
The magazine's website, www.BlackIssues.com, has a picture of this issue's cover, featuring Slaton, as well as a complete listing of the 2001 Arthur Ashe Sports Scholars.
Published since 1984, Black Issues in Higher Education is the nation's only news magazine dedicated exclusively to minority issues in higher education.