FGCU's Albert Ruiz Named To 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List

ST. LOUIS – Coming off the greatest offensive season in program history and a runner-up finish in the 2016 MAC Hermann Trophy voting, FGCU senior striker Albert Ruiz has been named to the 2017 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List as one of the nation's top players once again.
 
Ruiz (Barcelona, Spain/UE Cornella/CE L'Hospitalet) was the national leader in goals (22) and points (49) last year by a wide margin, destroying single-season program records in both categories en route to being named an NSCAA First Team All-American – the first ASUN Conference representative since 1997.
 
The most coveted and prestigious individual honor in Division-I soccer, the MAC Hermann Trophy – college soccer's equivalent of the Heisman Trophy – has been awarded annually since 1967. Ruiz was the first player in ASUN history to be named a finalist (or semifinalist) for the award last year when he was one of three finalists and one of 15 semifinalists.
 
Ruiz is one of just 31 players named to the 2017 watch list. The semifinalists will be announced in late November, with the finalists revealed in early December and the winner awarded the trophy in early January.
 
"It's an honor to be named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List, but all my attention is focused on our team and the upcoming season," said Ruiz, who helped lead FGCU to the NCAA Tournament Second Round for the first time last year. "I am very excited for the challenges to come, and I can't wait to get started with the team and new coaching staff."
 
The Barcelona, Spain, native scored five more goals and totaled nine more points than any other player in the country in 2016. He also led all D-I players in goals per game (1.10; next closest: 0.89) and points per game (2.45; next closest: 1.95).
 
By himself, Ruiz scored more goals than 74 teams – more than one-third of the 203 D-I men's programs – and secured more points than 43 teams last season.
 
Ruiz was also lauded as the ASUN Player of the Year, chosen to the NSCAA All-Southeast Region First Team, selected as the ASUN Tournament MVP and was named an ASUN First Team and ASUN All-Tournament Team member in 2016. He was also a two-time National Player of the Week last year.
 
The Spaniard's 22 goals were the most by a D-I player in a single season since 2012, and the most in the ASUN in more than a decade. Ruiz scored five goals in four postseason games (two ASUN Championship matches; two NCAA Tournament contests) as part of a larger streak of scoring a goal in eight of FGCU's final nine games of the year.
 
Ruiz secured two hat tricks during the regular season, including what is believed to be the fastest in D-I history from the start of the game (9:02 at Rutgers). He had six games of four or more points, including a program single-game record 7 versus UNCW. Ruiz destroyed the previous single-season program record for goals (7) and points (17).
 
He helped guide FGCU to its fourth ASUN Championship title in just six seasons of D-I postseason eligibility. He also aided in steering the Green and Blue to a program-record #11 NSCAA national ranking during FGCU's 14-4-3 year, setting the program's single-season record for wins. Included in that stretch was a program- and nation-best 10-game winning streak.
 
Ruiz converted the game-clinching goal in FGCU's 3-0 penalty kick win over USF in the NCAA First Round. He then scored the go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute at North Carolina in the Second Round before the Eagles – playing with 10 men – fell just short in double overtime to the Tar Heels, who eventually advanced to the College Cup.
 
Ruiz played a crucial part in FGCU not being shut out all year in 2016, something that had never happened in the 10-year history of the program. The Green and Blue led the nation by a drastic margin in goals with 62 and points with 179 – both easily single-season program records.
 
In 1967, Robert Hermann – then the president of the National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the NPSL's successor, the North American Soccer League – established a trophy to annually recognize the top men's collegiate soccer player. The Missouri Athletic Club has been honoring the top players in college soccer since 1986 as the host of the annual ceremony. For more information regarding the award, visit MACHermannTrophy.org.
 
FGCU will begin the 2017 season ranked #23 in the nation as the Eagles cracked the top 25 of the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll announced last week. The Eagles will commence their 2017 schedule with a marquee matchup as they travel to Colorado to take on defending College Cup participant Denver (Aug. 25), which is ranked #3 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll.
 
2017 MAC HERMANN TROPHY WATCH LIST
Sam Gainford (Sr.) Akron
Alfonso Pinheiro (Sr.) Albany           
Frantzky Pierrot (Sr.) Coastal Carolina
Ricky Lopez-Espin (Sr.) Creighton
Wyatt Omsberg (Sr.) Dartmouth
Ian McGrath (Sr.) Evansville
Albert Ruiz (Sr.) FGCU
Niki Jackson (Sr.) Grand Canyon
Siggi Benonysson (So.) High Point
Grant Lillard (Sr.) Indiana
Tim Kubel (Sr.) Louisville
Grant Stoneman (Jr.) Loyola Chicago
Gordon Wild (Jr.) Maryland
Will Bagrou (Sr.) Mercer
Ryan Sierakowski (Jr.) Michigan State
Cam Lindley (So.) North Carolina
Jon Gallagher (Sr.) Notre Dame
Tristan Blackmon (Sr.) Pacific
Pablo Pelaez (So.) San Diego State
Mauro Cichero (Sr.) SMU
Tomas Hilliard-Arce (Sr.) Stanford
Foster Langsdorf (Sr.) Stanford
Mo Adams (So.) Syracuse
Danny Musovski (Sr.) UNLV
Paul Hoffmeister (Sr.) Utah Valley
Edward Okpodu (Jr.) Virginia
Marcelo Acuna (Sr.) Virginia Tech
Brad Dunwell (Jr.) Wake Forest
Antonio Bustamante (Jr.) William and Mary
Chris Mueller (Sr.) Wisconsin
Cory Brown (Sr.) Xavier

 

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