Aug. 8, 2007
MISSION, Kans. - Gonzaga University senior forward George Josten is one of 29 players selected for the Men's 2007 Hermann Trophy Watch List released Wednesday by the National Soccer Coaches Association (NSCAA).
Josten, a two-time All-West Coast Conference first-team selection who has also led the conference in scoring each of the past two seasons, is the inaugural Bulldog to be a Hermann Trophy candidate, the award sponsored by the Missouri Athletic Club to hojnor the top collegiate male and female soccer players. He was a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/adidas Far West All-Regional first team honoree in 2006.
"Obviously this is a big honor," Josten said when notified of his selection. "To be mentioned on a pre-season Watch List with these guys is pretty good. It's a strong list."
Included on the list is senior Joseph Lapira of the University of Notre Dame, the 2006 winner. He was part of last season's landmark sweep of the men's and women's awards by Notre Dame, joining Kerri Hanks, also a forward for the Fighting Irish, who is included on the women's Watch List for this fall.
"This is a great honor for George, the program and the university," Gonzaga head coach Einar Thorarinsson said. "George would be the first one to tell you this is a team honor, not an individual honor, but he has worked hard to get where he is today. I think this speaks highly for the type of individual George is and shows we are recruiting quality student-athletes."
Josten, a native of Idaho Falls, Idaho, won his second straight West Coast Conference goals (12) and points (28) titles last season. He had five match-winning goals. Last season he became the first Bulldog since Jeff McAllister in 1997 to lead the WCC in both goals and points.
His 29 career goals rank fourth all-time on the GU charts behind Brian Ching's 34, Jason Kuska's 35 and McAllister's 45. He's tied for eighth on the GU career charts in assists with 10, needing four to move into fourth behind current Gonzaga assistant coach Mike Thompson who holds the third spot with 16. Josten is also fourth on the career points charts with 68, McAllister sitting atop the list with 102 points while Ching and Kuska are tied for second with 91.
Josten carries a 3.85 grade point average in civil engineering and was an ESPN The Magazine first-team Academic All-America selection in 2006 after being a third-team pick in 2005.
Josten thinks his vision is his strong suit on the field.
"I think my success is my vision of the game. I can see where the game is going. If you can see where things are going it's easier to do things you need to do. I'm not fast or strong, but it's probably the mind games I call on as the key for me," he said.
Surprisingly, Josten's forward position is relatively new to him, making the switch when he arrived at Gonzaga.
"My entire career had pretty much been at center mid-field," recalled Josten, who has been playing soccer since he "was about, six, seven or eight years old. When I came to Gonzaga that position was pretty much locked down by guys like (current teammate) John Palladino who is a year older than me and Josh Westermann. Coach wanted to use me, so I started playing forward, scored a few goals (five as a freshman) and things have gone from there."
So, why Gonzaga?
"It was already a school I was thinking of going to, and once they (Gonzaga coaches Thorarinsson and Thompson) saw me play they were the only Division I school that wanted me to play. I wanted to play at the highest level. Idaho is a small state and Idaho Falls is tucked away in the southeastern corner, so a lot of coaches don't waste their time recruiting there. I was in the Spokane area visiting other schools my senior year and stopped at Gonzaga real quick. We visited the campus for like an afternoon," said the former Anaheim, Calif., native whose family moved to Idaho Falls when he was 4-years-old.
Josten takes pride in his on-the-field and off-the-field honors exemplifying the true definition of student-athlete.
"I've always worked hard at school, so it hasn't been too much of a change," he said. "Last year, my junior year was tough, and most people agree that's the toughest year. It seemed like all of my time last year was spent between soccer and school It's been tough, but I haven't let it control my life, either," he said.
Josten said he and the Bulldogs are looking forward to an outstanding 2007 season.
"We have huge expectations for this season. We have a tough non-conference schedule. We play defending national champion Santa Barbara, as well as Washington and Northern Illinois who were also in the tournament a year ago. If we can come away with some victories and have a sold record going into conference play, then I think we should make the tournament," Josten said of extending the season to post-season opportunities. "Last year we lost some games we shouldn't have lost. For some reason, it seemed we needed to do that and it was kind of a wakeup call to start playing. We can't do that this year, we can't allow it to happen. Last year was a disappointment."
The Bulldogs were 9-8-2 overall a year ago and 6-5-1 in the West Coast Conference for third place. But the Bulldogs got off to a 0-3 WCC start before going 6-2-1 down the stretch in league play.
Josten has some stiff competition in his bid to win the Hermann Trophy. Reigning NCAA Division I national champion UC-Santa Barbara, who the Bulldogs meet Sept. 2 on the road, and Creighton University were the only two schools to have multiple players on the Watch List. Senior defender Andy Iro and junior midfielder Eric Avila represent the Gauchos, while Creighton's two players, senior goalkeeper Matt Allen and junior forward Byron Dacy, both hail from Omaha, Neb.
Players are selected to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List by a committee of Division I coaches who are NSCAA members. In November, the list will be narrowed to 15 semifinalists. Three finalists will be named in early December in conjunction with the NCAA Division I College Cup and will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club on Friday, Jan. 11, 2008. The winner of the 2007 award will be announced during a nationally-televised news conference that evening.
2007 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy Watch List
As selected by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)
Pos. Name Cl. School HometownK Matt Allen Sr. Creighton Omaha, Neb.M Eric Avila Jr. UCSB Encinitas, Calif.D Rhett Bernstein Jr. Brown San Diego, Calif.D Eric Brunner Sr. Ohio State Dublin, OhioF Byron Dacy Jr. Creighton Omaha, Neb.F Patrick Figueiredo Jr. Adelphi Compinas, BrazilF Kevin Forest Sr. Washington Edmonds, Wash.F Juan Gavaria Sr. St. Peter's Elizabeth, N.J.M Tom Gray Sr. Monmouth Middletown, N.J.M Bruno Guarda Jr. SMU Piracicaba, BrazilD David Horst Sr. Old Dominion Pine Grove, Pa.D Andy Iro Sr. UCSB Liverpool, EnglandF Saidi Isaac Sr. Winthrop Eldoret, KenyaM Dejan Jakovic Jr. UAB Etobicoke, OntarioD Julius James Sr. Connecticut Maloney Gardens, TrinidadF George Josten Sr. Gonzaga Idaho Falls, IdahoM Stephen King Sr. Maryland Medford, N.J.F Joseph Lapira Sr. Notre Dame Lake Charles, La.M Peter Lowry Sr. Santa Clara Fair Oaks, Calif.M Travis MacKenzie Sr. Duquesne Carnegie, Pa.M Ryan Maduro Sr. Providence Bristol, R.I.F Patrick Nyarko Jr. Virginia Tech Kumasi, GhanaF Yannick Reyering Jr. Virginia Mettingen, GermanyM David Roth Sr. Northwestern St. Louis, Mo.D Andre Sherard Sr. North Carolina Greenville, N.C.M Eric Sweetin Jr. Saint Louis Kansas City, Mo.D Julian Valentin Sr. Wake Forest Lancaster, Pa.D Rob Valentino Sr. San Francisco Cave Creek, Ariz.M Michael Videira Sr. Duke Milford, Mass.