COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Texas A&M Aggies were honored for their scholastic endeavors as they garnered the United Soccer Coaches (formerly National Soccer Coaches Association of America) Team Academic Award. The organization announced its list of honorees for the 2016-17 academic year on Thursday.
For a team to be considered for the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award, it must have a composite team GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for all team members who appeared on the official NCAA roster forms for the fall season (2016). Coach G Guerrieri's squad earned the award for the sixth consecutive year and the eighth year overall, logging a 3.23 GPA for Fall 2016 and Spring 2017.
“We take great pride in our players’ hard work in the classroom,” Guerrieri said. “Two things we always talk about in this program are ‘team’ and ‘academics’, so this is an award we take great satisfaction in earning. We have a squad of young women who are dedicated to being successful on the field and in the classroom. It says a lot about the quality of the people we have on this team.”
The Aggies' scholastic standing was spearheaded by outstanding performances in the classroom by then-seniors Taylor Saucier, Sarah Shaw and Grace Wright who all ended their careers with grade-point averages over 3.4. Kate Hajdu earned CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 accolades in 2016. Qualifications to be nominated for CoSIDA Academic All-America include being appearing in at least 50 percent of the team's games, being enrolled in class at Texas A&M for at least one year and owning a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher. This year's candidates for Academic All-America honors include Emily Bates, Hajdu, Claudette Lassandro, Stephanie Malherbe, McKayla Paulson, Grace Piper and Callyn Walton.
The Aggies' academic stature has been steadily growing in prominence. In 2014, Groom earned CoSIDA Academic All-America First Team status. Shea Groom and Meghan Streight earned NSCAA Scholar All-America First Team recognition for the second consecutive season. Texas A&M and UCLA were the only teams to have multiple players selected to the 12-player first-team. That year Texas A&M had five players earn NSCAA Scholar All-South Region Team distinction, the only squad with more than three designees. Groom, Annie Kunz and Streight were named to the NSCAA All-South Region First Team, Janae Cousineau was named to the Second Team and Leigh Edwards was selected for the Third Team.
Last year's squad experienced success on the field as well as in the classroom. Despite being injury-riddled for much of the season, the Aggies soldiered through to a 12-8-2 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I Championship where it took eventual national champion USC a penalty kick shootout to eliminate Maroon & White. For Texas A&M, it was the 22nd consecutive season the Aggies advanced to the NCAA Tournament.