The highest individual honor in NCAA college soccer, the MAC Hermann Trophy, will be presented on January 10 at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.
There are three male and three female finalists after the collection of votes from NCAA Division I coaches who are also members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) and also from fans.
With the trophy to be presented tomorrow evening, let’s take a look at the six players in the running for the award, the highest accolade a college soccer player can receive.
School: University of Maryland
2013 Stats:26 GP, 26 GS, 19 G, 8 A, 46 Pts
The winner of the 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy as a junior, Mullins is a finalist for this year’s trophy after another stellar year with the Terrapins that saw him lead the nation in goals.
Touted as a possible No. 1 pick when the MLS SuperDraft takes place on January 16, Mullins captained Maryland to the final of the College Cup, where they lost 2-1 to Notre Dame.
He was named to the All-ACC First Team and was named MVP of the ACC Championship, having helped the Terrapins win their second straight conference title before they leave for the Big Ten next year.
Mullins is the third-highest goalscorer in the history of Maryland men’s soccer with 43, and having won the MAC Hermann last year will be hopeful of joining Al Trost, Mike Seerey and Mike Fisher as just the fourth man to win the trophy two years in a row.
School: University of Notre Dame
2013 Stats: 24 GP, 23 GS, 12 G, 10 A, 34 Pts
Secured on a Homegrown contract by the Chicago Fire of MLS, Harrison Shipp enjoyed another superb year and continued his streak of never having missed a game for Notre Dame in his college career.
Named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-ACC, Shipp was also the College Cup MVP as he helped the Fighting Irish win their first national title in the history of the program.
Shipp’s play was crucial as Notre Dame began their first year in the strong ACC field, and he has also garnered recognition off the field as he was recognized as the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year® for Division I men's soccer.
Fire fans must be licking their lips at the thought of him playing up front for them next season in the professional game.
Stats: 20 GP, 18 GS, 11 G, 8 A, 30 Pts
A native of Munich in Germany, Leo Stolz was named Pac-12 Player of the Year and First Team All-Pac-12 as the UCLA Bruins secured the top seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Jorge Salcedo’s side may have been knocked out on penalties by the University of Connecticut in the third round, but Stolz’s play throughout the season gives them plenty to cheer.
He was an ever-present for the Bruins throughout 2013, with his 30 points the best among all players in the Pac-12 as he led the team in goals and tied for the lead in assists.
Due to return to the Bruins for his final year, this finalist berth is a reward for a highly consistent season for Stolz.
School: University of Virginia
Stats: 25 GP, 25 GS, 12 G, 3 A, 46 Pts
It has been quite a year for Morgan Brian, who made her debut for the United States Women’s National Team in June and scored her first goal for the USWNT in September against Mexico.
Brian led the ACC in assists and points as the Cavaliers reached the semifinals of the College Cup, where they fell to eventual winners UCLA on penalties.
She was also named to the First Team All-ACC, and was a finalist of the US Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in what was a stellar 2013.
Stats: 25 GP, 24 GS, 1 G, 2 A, 4 Pts
Part of the UCLA team that won the College Cup in Cary, NC in December, Abby Dahlkemper was named to the First-Team All-Pac-12 for the third year in a row after another superb year at the back for the Bruins.
The UCLA defense led the nation in conceding just 0.26 goals per game, and Dahlkemper was crucial in that solidity at the back, helping them to 17 shutouts.
She also came up big at crucial moments, particularly against Stanford in their Pac-12 regular season game away from home when she made a great stop during the first of two overtime periods.
Dahlkemper also played 1,987 for the Bruins, the most among all outfield players, showing her durability through what was a long and intense season.
School: University of North Carolina
Stats: 21 GP, 18 GS, 14 G, 6 A, 34 Pts
Like Mullins, Crystal Dunn won the MAC Hermann Trophy as a junior in 2012 and again enjoyed a stunning season as a senior in 2013 to be named a finalist once more.
Another who is currently part of the United States Women’s National Team, Dunn won the ACC Offensive Player of the Year award, becoming the first player in ACC history to win both the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards during their career.
Dunn also won the ACC Player of the Year award, the first player since Mia Hamm to win that award three times, and is regarded as the top senior prospect ahead of the National Women’s Soccer League College Draft on February 7.
She is also versatile, having played at right-back on various United States national teams and in the midfield for the Tar Heels, who she helped reach the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals where they lost 1-0 in double overtime to eventual champions UCLA.
Chris Teale is a contriubting writer for College Soccer News. He can be reached by e-mail at Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @chris_teale