For the second year in a row, Canadian Kyle Hiebert is one of 15 men's semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded annually to the top NCAA soccer player.
The redshirt senior defender from Missouri State is one of four returning semifinalists, along with Pittsburgh senior defender Jasper Loeffelsend, Georgetown junior midfielder Dante Polvara and Washington senior forward Dylan Teves.
The semifinalists were chosen by NCAA Division I men’s soccer coaches.
Three finalists will be announced Dec. 15. The men's and women's winners will revealed Jan. 7 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
Canadian Gloire Amanda won the award last year when the Oregon State junior led the NCAA Division I in both goals (15) and total points (37). The Edmontonian was named to the All-Pac-12 and All-Far West Region first team as well as the United Soccer Coaches' All-America first team and Top Drawer Soccer Best XI first team.
Amanda is now playing professionally for Austria Klagenfurt.
Hiebert, a 24-year-old from La Salle, Man., anchored a Missouri State defence that helped the Bears to their third straight Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title.
He appeared in all 19 games, including 18 starts, and recorded a team-high 1,625 minutes this season while adding a career-high three goals. Missouri State had 10 shutouts this season and a .573 goals-against average.
Hiebert is the first-ever Missouri Valley Conference player to win three straight Defensive Player of the Year awards.
The MAC Hermann Trophy, presented by World Wide Technology, has been awarded annually since 1967.
Teal Bunbury (Akron, 2009) is the only other men's winner with Canadian ties. The son of former Canadian international Alex Bunbury, Teal has lived in the United States since he was 10 and represents the U.S. internationally.
Canada and Portland Thorns captain Christine Sinclair won the MAC Hermann women's award twice, in 2004 and 2005 while attending the University of Portland. Canadian international Kadeisha Buchanan, now with France's Lyon, won in 2016.
There are no Canadians among the 15 women's semifinalists this year.
2021 Men's MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalists (with position, university and country)
Oskar Agren, defender, Clemson (Sweden); Simon Becher, forward, Saint Louis, (U.S.); Benjamin Bender, midfielder, Maryland (U.S.); Yannick Bright, midfielder, New Hampshire (Italy); Sofiane Djeffal, midfielder, Oregon (France); Hendrik Hebbeker, midfielder, Hofstra (Germany); Kyle Hiebert, defender, Missouri State (La Salle, Man.); Jan Hoffelner, goalkeeper, Kentucky (Germany); Jasper Loeffelsend, defender, Pittsburgh (Germany); Dante Polvara, midfielder, Georgetown (U.S.); Ryan Sailor, defender, Washington (U.S.); Adam Savill, defender, New Hampshire (England); Dylan Teves, forward, Washington (U.S.); Thorleifur Ulfarsson, forward, Duke (Iceland); Sean Zawadzki, midfielder, Georgetown (U.S.).
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2021
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press