M.A.C., Hermann Merge Awards

M.A.C., Hermann Merge Awards

Aug. 16, 2002

NSCAA members will select the definitive collegiate soccer Players of the Year with the merger of the nation's two premier awards, the Missouri Athletic Club Collegiate Soccer Players of the Year and the Hermann Trophy. Effective this season, the single award, to be known as the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, will be selected based on voting by NSCAA members and presented to the outstanding male and female soccer players in America.

Senior All-America Aly Wagner has been a finalist for both awards in each of the past two seasons, while Mandy Clemens became the first Bronco to be honored with the Hermann and the M.A.C. awards, when she was announced as the 1999 winner.

Wagner, the 2001 Honda Award Player of the Year, placed fourth in the M.A.C. voting last season, and fifth in 2000. Current WUSA standout and Bronco alumna Danielle Slaton was a two-time M.A.C. finalist and was also named a Hermann semifinalist on two occasions. The Broncos' most recognized graduate, Brandi Chastain '91, is the only other player to earn top honors, as she received the 1990 Honda Award and ISAA Player of the Year honors.

The merger of the M.A.C. and Hermann awards completes a unification process that began in 1999, when the NSCAA and the M.A.C. began cooperating in the selection of the NCAA Division I Players of the Year. For the past three years, recipients of the M.A.C. Award have been selected through voting by NSCAA members at the NCAA Division I level. NSCAA also selects Players of the Year at all other levels of collegiate play.

"The union of these two national awards makes sense and will benefit the sport. From now on there will be clearly one male and one female player named the most outstanding college player in the country."
Robert R. Hermann

The Hermann Trophy is the longest-running of the three awards that have united in the new arrangement. Founded in 1967 to recognize the outstanding player in men's collegiate soccer, it is named for Robert R. Hermann, a co-founder and former Chairman of the Executive Committee of the former North American Soccer League (NASL). A women's award was added in 1988. The Missouri Athletic Club presented its first award in 1986, adding a women's award in 1991. The NSCAA first recognized collegiate Players of the Year in 1996, merging its NCAA Division I awards with the M.A.C. awards in 1999.

Last year the M.A.C. and the Hermann both recognized Luchi Gonzalez of Southern Methodist University and Christie Welch of Penn State University as the top collegiate players. It marked the ninth time both awards went to the same men's player and the 11th time a woman had garnered both in the same year.

"The Missouri Athletic Club is committed to promoting soccer in the United States," said M.A.C. President Gerald Ortbals. "We want to honor the best young players in the game. Forming one award will help attain the goal of presenting college soccer's version of the Heisman Trophy. This will increase the prestige and visibility of college soccer's top honor."

"The union of these two national awards makes sense and will benefit the sport," said Hermann. "From now on there will be clearly one male and one female player named the most outstanding college player in the country."

In past years, the M.A.C. and Hermann have honored many of the brightest stars in intercollegiate soccer. Women like Kristine Lilly, Mia Hamm, Cindy Parlow, Tisha Venturini, Shannon MacMillan and FIFA's Female Player of the Century, Michelle Akers, have won one or both of these awards prior to achieving international stardom. In the men's game, high profile players such as Claudio Reyna, Alexi Lalas and Tony Meola are past recipients. Thirteen M.A.C. or Hermann recipients have enjoyed careers in Major League Soccer, while six winners play professionally in the Women's United Soccer Association. A total of 28 former M.A.C. and Hermann recipients have represented the United States on either the men's or women's National Team.

Since 1986, M.A.C. award winners are honored with an annual banquet at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis and presented with a beautiful Irish crystal trophy. An exact replica of a regulation number five soccer ball, the trophy weighs 10 pounds and now will be called the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy.

An exhibit dedicated to the new award featuring all former recipients of both the M.A.C. and Hermann trophies, the current winners, a replica of the Irish crystal trophy and the original Hermann trophy will be unveiled in 2003 at the National Soccer Museum in Oneonta, N.Y.

"We are delighted to add a collegiate element to the new museum and to publicly exhibit this Heisman Trophy of soccer," said Will Lunn, President/CEO of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame opened a new 30,000-square-foot museum in June 1999. On Aug. 24, it will host the Big Three Enshrinement Ceremony, when the newest members of the Halls of Fame for NSCAA, American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) and National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) will be added to each organization's display in the museum. Additional information regarding the Hall of Fame and the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy exhibition can be can be found at www.soccerhall.org.

The Missouri Athletic Club will announce the winners of the award at the NCAA Men's and Women's College Cup and present the 2002 Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy to the top men's and women's college soccer players at an awards banquet at the club in St. Louis on Jan. 10, 2003.