For the first time in program history, the Slippery Rock men’s soccer team earned the United Soccer Coaches (USC) Team Academic Award for their success in the classroom for the 2016-17 school year.
“The guys do a really good job of holding themselves accountable when it comes to their academics,” SRU men’s soccer head coach Steve Small said. “We have some things in place as a program, but a lot of the stuff comes out of the individuals that the guys want to do well in school.”
The announcement came last week on Oct. 5 by the United Soccer Coaches. In order to win the award, teams must be members of United Soccer Coaches College Services Program and have at least a 3.0 team grade point average on a 4.0 scale for all players on the team.
“Time management is extremely important,” Small said. “Like on the bus ride home yesterday a lot of guys could’ve just slept the whole way, but I’m looking around and guys are doing homework.”
For The Rock, their team grade point average came in at 3.27 for the 2016-17 school year, which made them one of three teams in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) to earn the award. The other teams coming out of the PSAC includes Lock Haven University who earned a 3.34 GPA and West Chester University with a 3.23.
“From my standpoint now I wasn’t the greatest student,” Small said. “I focused a bit too much on the soccer side of things. I could’ve done better in school, but that is also part of the reason why I put some things in place for the guys here not to make those same mistakes.”
Throughout the country, 814 colleges won the team award, which includes 282 men’s teams and 532 women’s teams. For The Rock last season, the team totaled nine PSAC Scholar Athletes throughout the school year.
“The guys, they take their academics very serious because they know if they don’t take care of the academics, they can’t play soccer,” Small said. “Plus at the end of the day, that degree is going to take them a lot further in life than soccer will.”